Listen to Slaughtered, the new single and our Song of the Day from Portland-based Americana singer-songwriter Chuck Westmoreland. It’s taken from his forthcoming LP Long Winter Rodeo, a collection of country-tinged character sketches displaying a songwriting prowess that recalls the introspective storytelling of Taylor Goldsmith and the brutal honesty of Jason Molina and John Moreland. Sonically, there is a majestic grandeur throughout the record, with plenty of ebb and flow between sparse acoustic instrumentation and driven electric guitars.
“Slaughtered” is a raw, forlorn ballad featuring only Westmoreland’s vocals and lightly-picked acoustic guitar. His voice cuts to the bone, conjuring a romantic tale inspired by his grandparents, who lived on the Texas-Louisiana state line. It’s a story about a hired hand working the land for an older couple, whose daughter happens to be away at college. Not only does he grow fond of his employers but of the many photos of their daughter along the walls.
Westmoreland shared the following with us about the song:
“I was driving through east Texas, near the Louisiana border, to go to the cemetery that my grandparents are buried in. Driving past their old house with the pool we used to play in as kids, past the church my Papaw built an addition on, past the little grocery store, this idea for a little love story popped into my head. I came up with the line “I’m ready to go now that all the stocks been slaughtered” standing in the cemetery which is surrounded by barren fields with walls of pine trees out far in the distance. It seemed like a place where there used to be a lot of cattle but now they’re all gone.
The character in the song works for a family and ends up taking care of them when they get older and sick. He falls in love with pictures of their daughter that they have on the walls. When her father dies she comes home and he gets to be with her. Maybe they fall in love and spend the rest of their lives together or maybe she leaves after the funeral and he never sees her again, I’m not sure, but I feel like the character in the song is happy either way. “The sky it don’t rise and the sun it don’t fly just like they’re gonna do forever on.”
Long Winter Rodeo is out June 1 on Black and Gold Records.
Upcoming US Tour Dates
JUN 7 THU — Mississippi Studios, Portland, OR,
JUN 12 TUE — The 5 Spot, Nashville, TN,
JUN 13 WED — Bobby’s Idle hour, Nashville, TN,
JUN 15 FRI — Georgia Theatre Rooftop, Athens, GA,
JUN 16 SAT — Sounds Good Memphis, Memphis, TN,
JUN 17 SUN — Raccoon Motel Davenport, IA,
Photo Credit: Peter Carlson