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Starlings, TN


Listen to Dry County In Hell

Talk about a tumultuous decade. Since 2001, Steven Stubblefield of Starlings, TN has seen it all: epic natural disasters, personal demons, nervous breakdowns, the death of a mentor and friend, the severing of a great musical partnership, moves from Nashville to Mississippi to Texas, and, at last, with the release of Heartache in 4/4 Time, the completion of a rebirth and a reconnection with his past.

This record finds Stubblefield, a Baptist preacher’s son from Shreveport and a veteran of the vaunted 1990s North Louisiana punk/indie scene, coming in to his own as a singer and songwriter, finally settling comfortably into his own skin, and reuniting not only with fellow Starlings, TN, prodigal O.G. Tim Bryan, but also fellow guitarist of The Roadside Monuments, Bryan Robison, whom he played with more than twenty years ago.

While those seeking the eerie Appalachian atmospherics of some of the earlier Starlings, TN records won’t find them here, they will hear something very much a piece of the band’s sound. The addition and influence of Robison on electric guitar has a lot to do with how it has changed. While Starlings, TN had used electric instruments on previous recordings; none had ever featured electric guitar. In other words, it might not be the exact same mountain sound the Starlings once purveyed, but the marriage of American roots music and organic, acoustic-based mood remains. Whereas they once offered up something they called “19th Century techno”, today’s sound might be more accurately described as “honky-techno.”