True Crime Songs, Opinions on Jenny Lewis & Sara Romweber

There's a long tradition of blues and folk troubadours writing about subjects that are downright criminal. This week, Jim and Greg talk about true crime, or at least allegedly true crimes, that have been immortalized in song. Plus, a review of the latest from singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis, and a remembrance of drummer Sara Romweber.

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reviewJenny Lewis On The Line

Jenny Lewis On The Line

Former Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis's fourth solo album, On The Line, is the most star-studded record of her career, featuring Ringo Starr, Jim Keltner, Benmont Tench and production from Beck and a pre-MeToo-reckoning Ryan Adams. (Lewis has publicly supported the women accusing Adams since the news broke.) Both Jim and Greg point out the LA vibe on the record- encompassing both Laurel Canyon songwriting and hedonistic excess. Greg says Lewis is underrated as an influence on other musicians like Kasey Musgraves, who won the Album of the Year GRAMMY award this year. Jim loves the novelistic detail found throughout the album, citing the line“disagreed about everything from Elliott Smith to grenadine”as an example of this genius. Greg praises her honest appraisal of her own imperfect childhood,“looking back to move forward”and the juxtaposition of light melodies with dark subject matter, what he calls a "classic California trope."


Sara Romweber

Sara Romweber Sara Romweber was a central member of the North Carolina independent music scene from her teenage years to her death this month at age 55. As the drummer of Let's Active, she was closely associated with Mitch Easter, who would go on to produce R.E.M. as well as many other bands. She later drummed for the band Snatches of Pink and in the past decade performed with her younger brother, Dex Romweber, in the Dex Romweber Duo. Dex is known for his band Flat Duo Jets, which Jack White has cited as a major influence.

Sara Romweber's death prompted an outpouring of tributes, notably from members of the band Superchunk, who described Romweber as creative, caring and inspiring.


True Crime Songs

This week, Jim and Greg selected tracks written about true crimes, or at least allegedly true crimes. There's a long tradition of crimes that have been immortalized in songs, going back to the blues and folk troubadours, and before that the murder ballad has been a classic trope for centuries. One example of a true crime song is "Stagger Lee", a hundred year old folk song, popularized by Lloyd Price in 1958. The song details the 1895 murder of Billy Lyons by“Stag”Lee Shelton. "Stagger Lee," "Stack-A-Lee" "Stag-O-Lee" or "Stack-O-Lee" has also been performed by James Brown, Dr. John, and even Bob Dylan.

There's a deep well of songs about doing wrong. Here are Jim and Greg's picks:

Featured Songs

  1. Junior Murvin, Police & Thieves, Police & Thieves, Island, 1977
  2. Jenny Lewis, Heads Gonna Roll, On The Line, Warner Bros, 2019
  3. Jenny Lewis, Wasted Youth, On The Line, Warner Bros, 2019
  4. Jenny Lewis, Red Bull & Hennessy, On The Line, Warner Bros, 2019
  5. Jenny Lewis, Rabbit Hole, On The Line, Warner Bros, 2019
  6. Dex Romweber Duo, Jungle Drums, Is That You In the Blue?, Bloodshot, 2011
  7. Let's Active, Every Word Means No, Afoot, I.R.S., 1983
  8. Bob Dylan, Hurricane, Desire, Columbia, 1976
  9. Stagger Lee, Lloyd Price, Stagger Lee (single), ABC-Paramount, 1958
  10. Bob Dylan, Stack a Lee, World Gone Wrong, Columbia, 1993
  11. Bruce Springsteen, Nebraska, Nebraska, Columbia, 1982
  12. Sonic Youth, Death Valley '69, Bad Moon Rising, Blast First, 1985
  13. Grandmaster & Melle Mel, White Lines (Don‘t Don’t Do It), White Lines (Don‘t Don’t Do It) (single), Sugar Hill, 1983
  14. Alabama 3, Woke Up This Morning (The Sopranos Mix), Exile On Coldharbour Lane, Elemental, 1997
  15. Neko Case, Deep Red Bells, Blacklisted, Bloodshot, 2002
  16. Ghostface Killah, Shakey Dog, Fishscale, Def Jam, 2006
  17. Jane's Addiction, Been Caught Stealing, Ritual de lo habitual, Warner Bros., 1990
  18. My Bloody Valentine, Only Shallow, Loveless, Creation, 1991
  19. Madonna, Hung Up, Confessions on a Dance Floor, Warner Bros., 2005
  20. Mathien, God Is Crying, Opus, 601433 Records DK, 2019
  21. Starfighter, The Driver, Night Runner, Night Runner, 2014
  22. Chaka Khan, Like a Lady, Hello Happiness, Island, 2019
  23. Andre Williams & 2 Star Tabernacle, Lily White Mama and Jet Black Daddy, Making Singles, Drinking Doubles, Bloodshot, 2002