Friday Five: Arson

Juli Thanki | August 10th, 2012

Don’t try this at home. You wouldn’t do well in prison.

5. Rosanne Cash – “Burn Down This Town”

Cash paints a bleak, eerie picture with this song from Black Cadillac: “The hills are burnin’, fields turn to steel / The big house is haunted with what we don’t feel / All the streets are empty, no one ever comes around / So you know they won’t make a sound / Burn down this town.”

 

4. Jimbo Mathus – “Burn the Honky Tonk”

This country weeper is from Mathus’ Blue Light EP, which was released last month. Hopefully someone rescues the booze before Mathus channels his inner firebug.

3. Paul Thorn – “Burn Down the Trailer Park”

Hey, Paul, I know you’re upset about your woman, who keeps coming home “with Aqua Velva on her breath,” but that’s no reason to take it out on the pink flamingos.

 

2. Gretchen Peters – “Independence Day”

As far as story-songs go, you can’t get much better than this one, in which an abused woman burns down her home. Unlike Martina McBride and her stunning recording of the song, Peters isn’t a belter, but her version is no less powerful.

 

1. Dolly Parton – “Evening Shade”

Old Mrs. Bailey is the meanest matron at Evening Shade, a home for juvenile delinquents, beating a girl half to death for wetting the bed. But “understanding isn’t learned from punishment and anger / An iron has no gentle touch and love ain’t learned from hate,” so the kids get their kerosene-soaked revenge when Mrs. Bailey is taking her afternoon nap.

  1. Jonathan Pappalardo
    August 10, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Here’s a great one:

    Sammy Kershaw – “Matches”

  2. Donald
    August 10, 2012 at 11:59 am

    I get the connection: Randy Travis- burnin’ down his life- arson. That’s harsh.

  3. nm
    August 10, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Shawn Colvin, “Sunny Came Home”

  4. Arlene
    August 10, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Elton John- “Burn Down The Mission”

  5. Rick
    August 10, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    My favorite country arson song is from Australia and is titled “Let The Canefields Burn”. It seems the bank is foreclosing on the family farm and the current owner wants to leave nothing behind for them. Brendon Walmsley’s cover of this song on the excellent “Australian Storytellers” CD is top shelf and too right!

  6. Paul W Dennis
    August 11, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Jimmy Dean – “She Burned THe Little ROadside Tavern Down”

  7. J.R. Journey
    August 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Great songs. The Rosanne Cash track is my favorite from her excellent Black Cadillac album. I’ll add George Jones’ “Burn Another Honky Tonk Down”.

  8. Ben Foster
    August 12, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    I love “Evening Shade.” I was just listening to it the other day on my old vinyl copy of My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy. The lines quoted here are just excellent.

    While the album was never released on CD, I believe “Evening Shade” has popped up on a few Dolly Parton compiltion albums, including the 2009 Dolly box set, and the song is available digitally.

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