Wild Country: Thanksgiving

by Max Sparber

There isn't a tradition of Thanksgiving music like there is one of Christmas music, perhaps because it is hard to pick the appropriate soundtrack to relatives screaming at each other during dinner over political differences.

But that doesn't mean we can't pick out a few songs that reference the holiday, or holiday traditions, or even just say the word thanksgiving. Here are a few of my favorites.

“Another Day, Another Dollar,” Wynn Stewart (1962)

Uptempo Bakersfield Country about being worked to death by your boss. What keeps Wynn going? “My family is my Thanksgiving.”

“Lord, I Love Mashed Potatoes,” Mayf Nutter (1976)

Funky 70s country that veers perilously close to disco. A list of things the somewhat pervy Nutter loves, making it a sort of thanksgiving song, albeit one that is grateful for heavy women and spaghetti sandwiches.

“Pilgrim,” Steve Earle and the Del McCoury Band (1999)

Exquisite, slide guitar-based Country Gospel track that casts life’s long and often lonely journey as a pilgrimage, occasionally interrupted by the welcome presence of friends. Additional vocals by Emmylou Harris and Gillian Welch.

“Pumpkin Pie,” Joe Thompson & Odell Thompson (1999)

Ultra-primitive old-timey country with pig call lyrics and shrieking fiddles. This should have been the soundtrack to “Children of the Corn.”

"Turkey Hunting,” Nick Fiore (2008)

Spoken word track from self-declared hillbilly over a vaguely strummed guitar providing instruction for catching wild turkey with corn and fishing line. “I don’t know if this is legal or not.”

“Cornbread and Butterbeans,” Carolina Chocolate Drops (2010)

Pretty much any version of this sprightly ode to food and making love is terrific, but I especially like this cheerily drowsy jug band rendition.


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