One of Georgia’s greatest exports is Kelly Hogan’s voice, and we’re about to get the Atlanta native’s first new album since 2001’s “Because It Feel Good.”
Hogan has signed with respected independent label Anti-, home of Tom Waits, Wilco, Nick Cave, Neko Case and many more critically acclaimed artists. “I Like to Keep Myself in Pain” is set for release June 5, but you can hear a track from the album online now. The lovely and memorable “We Cant Have Nice Things” has lyrics written by another former Atlantan, musician and author Jack Pendarvis.
In the press release announcing the new album, Hogan tells the story of the song: “My dear friend Jack Pendarvis is a writer and he sent these lyrics called “We Can’t Have Nice Things.” He thought it would turn out like this George Jones she-left-me type of song. But I had asked Andrew Bird, who I have worked with a long time, to write me a song. He asked if I had any lyrics he could write with so I sent him Jack’s. He sent them back with this amazing music and it turned into this really deep soul searching psychological song.”
Bird, who’ll be playing here in Atlanta this weekend, has called her “a national treasure.” In recent years, Hogan has been most visible in her role as, as she puts it, “the noble sideman,” providing backing vocals for Case, Mavis Staples, Jakob Dylan and many more.
Her early years as a musician were spent in Cabbagetown bands the Jody Grind and the Rock*a*Teens. Her tenure with the Jody Grind ended in tragedy when bandmates Rob Clayton and Robert Hayes were killed when their van crashed on the way home from a gig in Alabama. Atlanta poet, performance artist and musician Deacon Lunchbox also died in that accident. Hogan continued playing the occasional gig with Jody Grind guitarist Bill Taft, performing in a few local theatrical productions and making ends meet as a nanny before heading to Chicago in 1997.
Have a listen to “We Can’t Have Nice Things” via Pitchfork.
Here’s the complete track listing for “I Like To Keep Myself In Pain”:
“Dusty Groove” (Catherine Irwin)
“We Can’t Have Nice Things” (Jack Pendarvis/Andrew Bird)
“I Like To Keep Myself In Pain” (Robyn Hitchcock)
“Haunted” (Jon Langford)
“Daddy’s Little Girl” (M. Ward)
“Golden” (Kelly Hogan)
“Ways Of This World” (Vic Chesnutt)
“Slumber’s Sympathy” (Gabriel Roth)
“Plant White Roses” (Magnetic Fields)
“Sleeper Awake” (John Wesley Harding)
“The Green Willow Valley” (Handsome Family)
“Whenever You’re Out Of My Sight” (Robbie Fulks)
“Pass On By” (Margaret Ann Rich)