Not all Americana songs are about trucks and trains, but the same subjects do pop up over and over again. So here's some suggestions for thematic CD samplers. The list is in no particular order and is, of course, entirely subjective and primarily based on the contents of my CD collection. Click below the list to make your own suggestions. Or submit an entire list for future publication here.
The Sound of Approaching Hoof Beats
Horses and their riders have been tackled in song factually, symbolically and just as the basis for a good story. Corb Lund offers a remarkable history in five minutes of the use of horses in warfare, Tom Russell rides with Pancho Villa, while Johnny Cash’s “Tennessee Stud” is emblematic of power and strength. For Caitlin Rose, learning to ride symbolises growing up, just like the heroine of Sam Baker’s “Truale” raised on a ranch surrounded by horses.
The semi-mystical search for a horse is one of Roger McGuinn's finest moments with the Byrds, while Lyle Lovett is also off in search of freedom on his pony on his boat. Slaid Cleaves tells a compelling story of the life of a jockey, while Neil Young is riding off to a secret liaison with another man’s wife. The approaching hoof beats of Ray Wylie Hubbard’s “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” seems an appropriate place to end a collection of songs about horses.
1. Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier! – Corb Lund
I'm a dragoon on a dun, I'm a Cossack on the run
2. Tonight We Ride - Tom Russell
Tonight we ride, tonight we fly
3. Tennessee Stud - Johnny Cash
The Tennessee Stud was long and lean
4. Learning to Ride - Caitlin Rose
When I was young used to ride the wild ones
5. Truale - Sam Baker
Dapples and greys, wide open skies
6. Chestnut Mare - The Byrds
I'm going to catch that horse if I can
7. If I Had A Boat - Lyle Lovett
And if I had a pony I'd ride him on my boat
8. Quick As Dreams - Slaid Cleaves
Sailing by, eight feet high, on horses quick as dreams
9. Saddle Up The Palomino - Neil Young
Saddle up the palomino, the sun is going down
10. Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse - Ray Wylie Hubbard
The end will begin with the sound of approaching hoof beats