Friday, January 18, 2013

Jam of the Day | Portastatic - Oh My Sweet Carolina

Photo courtesy of Merge Records

Having just read Ryan Adams: Losering, A Story of Whiskeytown, Raleigh News & Observer music David Menconi's love letter to and history lesson about Ryan, Whiskeytown, and the Triangle music scene, I could write a thousand words on this cover of "Oh My Sweet Carolina", one of Ryan's greatest songs. But you guys don't need that; this song is worth a thousand words itself.

In summary, though, this cover was originally recorded by Mac McCaughan, Superchunk frontman and Merge Records founder, under his side project Portastatic, for a cystic fibrosis benefit CD called Songs For Sixty Five Roses, and later appeared on the Portastatic b-sides collection Some Small History. (Sixty Five Roses is a record of North Carolina artists covering other North Carolina artists, and also includes the greatest country cover of Superchunk's "Driveway To Driveway" ever recorded.)

I love "Oh My Sweet Carolina" for Ryan's words, and for the way it makes me feel about living in and loving North Carolina, but I love this cover for a very specific moment that differs utterly from Ryan's original heartbreaking ballad: the spot after the first verse, which is just Mac's voice and an acoustic guitar, where the electric guitars and the drums ramp up and into the song, the sheer unfettered joy of that moment. I have listened to this cover, according to iTunes, 267 times since it was released. That moment of joy never fails to rise under my chest whenever I listen to it.

Have a moment of joy on me today.

(And if you're a fan of Ryan, Losering is highly recommended. Two thumbs up!)

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