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Dizzy Spins provides a look at a recent release that's been added to our Open Air playlist by JPR Music staff.

Dizzy Spins: Whitehorse - I'm Not Crying, You're Crying

The duo Whitehorse in classic country garb with a dog

For their seventh full-length release, Whitehorse goes classic country with 12 new original songs that will take you back to the 1970s.

The Canadian husband and wife duo Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet, also known as Whitehorse are no strangers to making music. Both are solid guitar players, singers and songwriters. They each had successful solo careers before being married in 2006. McClelland recorded under her own name and had a string of albums in the 2000’s. Doucet started performing in 1994 as a member of Acoustically Inclined. He was also a member of the Vancouver rock band Veal and then released albums under the moniker Luke Doucet and the White Falcon. As the duo Whitehorse, they have 5 Juno Award nominations in 3 categories and have just released their 7th full length album. Their past albums have spanned genres from folk to blues to edgy rock. The new release I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying, is 1970s country.

The idea was to make a country cover album, but during the pandemic, Doucet would stay up late writing songs about the lockdown until he had a big collection of tunes. Eventually McClelland picked up the idea of writing with a theme. Instead of another cover album (they have two great albums of blues and rock covers) they turned these 12 original songs into their new release. Gracing the classic-country-stylized cover are the words “Heartbreak in Stereo,” a nice description of what you’ll hear when you give it a spin. The songs are about not only the heartbreak of lost love but the reality of what we missed during the pandemic. The lead off track If the Loneliness Don’t Kill Me laments on the feeling of isolation during lockdown and the bad habits one picks up to kill the time... “If the loneliness don’t kill me, then the good times surely will.” Other pandemic inspired titles include 6 Feet Away, Lock It Down and Scared of Each Other.

Luke Doucet takes the helm on Division 5, a bona fide “cry in your beer” tune about a guy who goes to the police to find his lost love. After teasing him, one of them offers one of the best elixirs for a broken heart, a country song. Doucet says “It was just a funny turn at the idea that someone would file a missing person's report on yourself because you're such a lost bag of sh*t, and, you know, trying to invoke the strong arm of the law to help get your girl back. I love the idea that you're getting laughed at, by this squadron of police officers, until one of them pulls you aside, pulls out a guitar, and sings you a country song."

Leave Me As You Found Me, seems like the kind of song Loretta Lynn may have written in her prime. It’s advice perhaps for the heart-breaker from the perspective of the heart-broken, about dating someone younger. The idea is to do no harm. The chorus says “Don't leave your rubbish, your baggage behind / Don't leave these thoughts in the back of my mind / Dust off my heart, won't you please just be kind / And let me let you go."

I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying sounds real. You can almost here classic country duos like June Carter and Johnny Cash singing these songs. The sound is drenched in pedal steel guitar and a telecaster played through a phaser set to “country twang.” For those reminiscing about the good old days and younger folks who are enjoying the classic country revival of the last few years, this record will go well next to Sturgill Simpson, Charley Crockett and Melissa Carper. A bit of a dig into the lyrics and all of us who have lived recently through disruption and heartache of the pandemic will find something to hold onto.

You can check it out over the next several weeks as we dig into it on Open Air, Monday-Friday 9-3 on JPR.

Dave Jackson curates the music on JPR's Rhythm and News Service, manages music staff and hosts Open Air, JPR's hand-picked house blend of music, JPR Live Sessions and Open Air Amplified. The exploration of music has been one of his lifelong passions.