Kurt Wagner & Cortney Tidwell present KORT – Invariable Heartache

January 01, 1970

(City Slang)




Kurt Wagner and Cortney Tidwell have worked together before,
most notably on her 2006 album Don’t Let
Stars Keep Us Tangled Up
. Teamed as KORT, with some of Wagner’s Lambchop
regulars backing them, they offer a surprisingly straightforward set in classic
country style.


Invariable Heartache draws mainly from the catalog of Nashville’s Chart Records, a label run in the
sixties and seventies by Tidwell’s grandfather, and that her father worked for
and her mother sang for. As per the album’s title, many of these are tearful
songs of heartbreak, many of them duets. But unlike with Lambchop’s subversive
use of country clichés, there’s no irony here, just quiet, aching dialogues
about love and loss. “Invisible Memories” and “Special Day” are hesitant and
unglossed and direct; “Pickin’ Wild Mountain Berries,” recorded for Chart in
1970 by LaWanda Lindsey and Kenny Vernon but later made famous by Conway Twitty
and Loretta Lynn, is rowdy and playful; “Penetration,” an obscurity among
obscurities, is surprisingly risqué, in the vein of Lee Hazlewood and Nancy
Sinatra. “I Can’t Sleep With You,” a solo numbers from Tidwell, opens with the
title phrase repeated, setting up one idea before the next line completes the
sentence with “on my mind.”


It’s a classic country move, that inversion of expectation,
and it’s played for pathos rather than humor. And it works, as does the rest of
this wonderfully weepy album.


DOWNLOAD: “Invisible
Memories,” “Pickin’ Wild Mountain Berries” STEVE KLINGE


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