Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, selected by Midday Show host Cheryl Waters, is “Rolling Pin” by Grant-Lee Phillips from his 2016 album, The Narrows, on Yep Roc Records.
Grant-Lee Phillips has had a storied career, both of his own success with Grant-Lee Buffalo in the ’90s and through the ones he tells in the songs of his previous seven solo albums. The narrative force remains strong on his latest, The Narrows, his eighth and the first recorded since he moved from his long-time home in Los Angeles to Nashville. Recorded at Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye Studio, the new LP finds Phillips walking a familiar path of warmly recorded country-tinged folk-rock, as in song he reflects on both the personal and the historical. While some songs focus on the latter, like the album’s first single, “Cry Cry”, which takes for its subject the persecution of Native American people during the Trail of Tears, today’s featured song, “Rolling Pin”, is of the former kind. “Flat out, laid me down / Like dough beneath a rolling pin / No, I never met the likes of her / I knew I never would again”, he sings of meeting his wife many years ago. It’s a straight-up love song, but there’s enough kick to this boot-stomper to keep from sounding schmaltzy or precious. In other words, “Rolling Pin” will knock you flat out too.
Grant-Lee Phillips just finished a North American tour, which brought him by Seattle a couple of months ago. He has only one future show scheduled, for Schuba’s in Chicago on August 27th, but if he lists any more, you can find them on his website and Facebook page. For now, check out his performance of “Smoke and Sparks”, also from The Narrows, recorded live on KEXP in May: