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You know what goes great with Those Darlins' vivacious, Grand Ole Opry-informed brand of country-punk? Esoteric, big-picture musings on how the long-running stigma/general social perception of Southerners and Southern culture fits into the modern zeitgeist. That's what. I always wanted to know what "moonshiner ghosts and Gullah aunties of dreamland" had to do with the Darlins' "The Whole Damn Thing." Flagpole Magazine
's intriguingly monikered Coy King maps it out for us in his feature, "Rabbit Foot Punks"
In the map we've carried since birth, Southern people relate thusly: North is up, West is out, East is back, and South, South is deep. Call it whatever myriad kudzu bloodlines running through it may suggest, call all it those bad cousin nick names and vine-thick coastlines, moss-hewn 'hollers side-smoked in winter wind, go on indefinitely naming, because no matter what, it is a nomenclature drenched in depth. It would require an immortal to comprehend every archetype clenched wordlessly in the root of the Southern psyche ... History and Samuel Clemens showed little quarter for later Southerners to abide by, aside from humor: our own, against ourselves. Who would despise it in hostile hands? Which we have, a lot. If you are going to do the Southern thing, you'd better hire professionals. You'd better hire Those Darlins.
King goes on to describe (mostly accurately, I think) how the Darlins "take the piss out of sentimental paeans on rural isolation that mark radio country."
Hey, flattering press is flattering press, and King depicts self-deprecating Southern humor in a venerable light. Still, am I out of line to detect some irony in an abstrusely composed piece about a band that "simply understand(s) and convey(s) [poverty or rural life] in the jocular manner of a native"? Either way, We Own This Town posted an interview with Jessi Darlin last week
that's grounded a bit more in the here and now. Those Darlins are on tour, and they'll be hitting Tennessee Tech Mar. 4 and SXSW later this month. See their dates at their fancy-lookin' website