20 Songs, 55 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Drawn from a collection of West Virginia home recordings that was said to include thousands of songs, Moon over Madison highlights an undervalued aspect of Hasil Adkins’ musical legacy: his ballads. He sang about hot dogs and swamp sex and decapitations, but Hasil’s craziness wouldn’t be nearly as appealing if it weren't grounded with genuine tenderness. That tenderness is laid bare on performances like “So Tell Me Darlin’,” “By the Lonesome River," and “My Home Town.” Hasil’s music was driven by a type of alienation: from society, from high culture, from the world at large. While he turned that alienation into a celebration, it also led to the moving expressions of loneliness that reappear throughout this collection. As much as Hasil was the progenitor of psychobilly, he was also a product of Appalachian bluegrass. His high lonesome feeling is felt not only on a beautiful reading of Bill Monroe’s “Blue Velvet Band” but throughout these performances. He may have been an anomaly and a proud wild man, but Moon Over Madison is also part of an ancient tradition of American mountain music.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Drawn from a collection of West Virginia home recordings that was said to include thousands of songs, Moon over Madison highlights an undervalued aspect of Hasil Adkins’ musical legacy: his ballads. He sang about hot dogs and swamp sex and decapitations, but Hasil’s craziness wouldn’t be nearly as appealing if it weren't grounded with genuine tenderness. That tenderness is laid bare on performances like “So Tell Me Darlin’,” “By the Lonesome River," and “My Home Town.” Hasil’s music was driven by a type of alienation: from society, from high culture, from the world at large. While he turned that alienation into a celebration, it also led to the moving expressions of loneliness that reappear throughout this collection. As much as Hasil was the progenitor of psychobilly, he was also a product of Appalachian bluegrass. His high lonesome feeling is felt not only on a beautiful reading of Bill Monroe’s “Blue Velvet Band” but throughout these performances. He may have been an anomaly and a proud wild man, but Moon Over Madison is also part of an ancient tradition of American mountain music.

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