1) Country Blues, Dock Boggs. On finally learning to hear this music, you literally become some different, more primal manner of flesh. There is simply nothing else like it. It is an Ur-thing, sere and terrible, yet capable of profound and paradoxical rescue in the very darkest hour. Dock Boggs lived in Wise County, Virginia, not far from where I grew up. I am haunted by the possibility that someone could have listened to this recording in Paris, in 1927, the year it was released.Living With Music: A Playlist by William Gibson (via Beyond the Beyond)
2) Make Me Down a Pallet on Your Floor, Lucinda Williams. A ravishingly young woman (1978) channels all the sexuality, injustice and spirituality of the American Gone World. For Smithsonian Folkways, no less.
3) Decoration Day, Drive-By Truckers. Like early Cormac McCarthy, but with three lead guitars. Hyper-literate narrative song-writing in the service of an act of stingingly efficient shamanistic cultural recall.