Wild Country Music: Bottomless Holes

There have been bottomless pits since at least Biblical days, when devils were supposed to dwell there, and, when I was a boy, it seemed like you couldn't watch a movie without a villain plunging down a hole in the ground, his screams swindling forever.

But the bottomless pit doesn't seem to have much currency anymore, except, thankfully, in country music, where people still fall, and fall forever. Here are some examples:

“The Bottomless Lake,” John Prine (1984)

Talky folk rock with sprightly fiddle about a disastrous family vacation. Ordinary worries (did I leave the oven on?) give way to bigger ones when the car crashes into a lake and just keeps sinking.

“Country Death Songs,” Violent Femmes (1984)

The band tackles a murder ballad, coupling their ratatat drums and acoustic bass guitar with a spooky banjo. Song tells of a father who spontaneously decides to kill his daughter by throwing her in a well. The well is, of course, bottomless.

“Bottomless Hole,” The Handsome Family (2003)

A funereal, weirdly hilarious song from the Family that stubbornly refuses to rhyme. Story tells of a hole found at the back of a barn. Singer threw garbage down the hole for a while, finally decided to descend. He’s still falling.

“Bottomless Hole,” Pelle Lindbergh Band (2011)

Southern-fried country rock told from the point of a view of singer, singing from within a pit, complaining about how he wasted his life before he toppled into the hole.

“Bottomless Hole,” Steve Grandinetti (2013)

Cheerful, New Orleans-piano-backed country rock that is nonetheless insistently anti-capitalist, seeing the world as filled with dead-eyed rich people relentlessly spending money, endless purchases thrown down in a Bottomless Hole.


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