Jesse Jarnow

hippie-country heartache no. 1: “roll with the flow” – michael nesmith

“Roll With the Flow” – Michael Nesmith (download) (buy)
from And the Hits Just Keep On Comin’ (1972)

(file expires May 14th)

It’s hippie-country heartache week here in the wunderkammern, and former Monkee Mike Nesmith’s And the Hits Just Keep on Comin’ is a remarkable, hook-filled beaut.

Country tunes don’t often speak, word for word, to the specifics of one’s particular heartbreak. But even narratives that are the 180-degree opposite of the use they’re serving can still stand-in just fine. Break-up songs sung from the perspective of the one leaving, like Nesmith’s “Roll With the Flow” can be of use to the broken. (In this case, perhaps through contrarian, pissed-off empowerment.) It is almost as if the sound of country — here stripped close to absolute simplest: acoustic guitar, pedal steel, and voice — acts like a welcoming arm. Warmed in its embrace, country veritably promises that even if this singer doesn’t address your problem with this song, it will most assuredly come around sooner than later. That faith hums warmly through the genre, like the anticipatory minutes after one has fed money into a crowded bar’s jukebox but before the sound in his head has made itself manifest in a room full of strangers.