Southern Gothic Slithers Along: Trailer Bride



A sound like backwoods trouble roiled up from the stage. It sneaked upward, volume rising, rhythm thrumming. Hard to believe this lanky, meek-looking woman could make the eerie drawl I was hearing. I took a little more notice and soon found myself forgetting where I was, who I was with and everything else that wasn’t this band. One set later and I was hooked.
This was the scene at the Earl in East Atlanta last year. Trailer Bride opened for Michelle Malone and it should have been the other way around. In the gala that was Malone’s latest CD release party, Trailer Bride went largely ignored. I managed to get hold of one of their CDs before they took off and I was not disappointed. The swampy, crawling kudzu sound was all over the CD, smoothed delicately by lead singer Melissa Swingle’s darkly humorous lyrics…
”a grain of sand in an oyster
rubs, scratches and grates
well my mind is full of sand
and these bruises for pearls make it ache”

From the tongue-in-cheek tale of a woman who can’t get her man to notice her (Itchin’ For You) to the tragic story of lost love (Crazy Love) to the musical biography of a West Virginia outlaw (Jesco), Trailer Bride draws you in slowly, lulling you with deep, understated talent.
Melissa is accompanied by Daryl White (stand-up bass), Scott Goolsby (guitar) and Brad Goolsby (drums). But Ms. Swingle takes the show, playing everything from guitar and harmonica to piano and mandolin, and something I’d never seen before, an actual hand saw. She plays this last by sitting on a stool holding the saw handle between her legs while gripping the other end. She runs a violin bow across the saw’s edge and then warps it outward and inward, producing an eerie, soft wailing sound that grows in intensity.
Hailing from Chapel Hill, NC, the band gets around the country every so often for a tour. If you happen to get a chance to see them, do yourself a favor and go. It’s like nothing you’ve ever heard.

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