Track Premiere: Big Storm from Pretty Little Goat

Western North Carolina’s Pretty Little Goat is an interesting and unorthodox string band. Working in the format of an old time group, they have a bluegrass attitude, and the rowdy energy of a jamgrass outfit. To that, add thoughtful songwriting and a willingness to take chances with the genre, and you have a perfect band for today’s pluralistic, fusion-oriented music scene.

At the center of the group is the husband-and-wife team of Josh and Mallory Carter. After a youth marked by steady touring all around the world, they have now settled down on a farm in the country where they are raising three children, tending cows, and writing songs. Since 2013 the Carters have collaborated with fellow Goats Owen Grooms on banjo and JT Linville on bass, with Josh on mandolin and Mallory percussing on a washboard.

Their second album, Big Storm, is on the way, and we are delighted to offer a premiere this morning of the title track, which releases as a single tomorrow (2/25). It’s an ambitious song, lyrically speaking, which Josh says grew out of a slow night on the job.

Big Storm is at first glance a raucous, fun, groovy song about watching storm clouds rolling in over the hill. The concept of the song was written impromptu at a quiet bar gig that should have been canceled due to a heavy storm forecast. As the song was born out of the energy of that moment, it has become a legitimate rain dance song. Almost every time we play this song, a whopper of a storm comes out of nowhere within the next couple days; it’s incredible.

Diving a little deeper into the lyrics, which are intentionally a bit ambiguous, the song is really a journey of spiritual exploration into the nature of space and time, and the ways we interact with both. The opening verse sets the stage with:

Time is a mean condition
He speaks with truth and conviction
And don’t we all wanna run from the stories he tells

From there, we travel back a few thousand years to the story of Haman, in which the concept of karma is well illustrated by the impact of decision and action. Haman is a villainous character who decided to try to kill all of the Jewish people in Persia because he took offense from one of them, Mordecai. In the end, Haman is the one ‘hanging from the gallows that he built with his own two hands.’

The bridge brings us back to the immediacy of tending to our own needs. Each and every day we need to make sure we have enough food on the table, and that we are mentally and physically prepared to face any of life’s challenges that may arise. The last verse offers a calling to our highest, truest selves. With technology on an exponential trajectory and the world seeming to spin faster and faster every day, we have been appointed with the task of preparing the next generation for the unknown. The best we can do is to search deep within, smile often, and spread love.

So batten down the hatches, turn up the volume, and have fun!”

Whew… not at all ominous with much of the US under rain clouds and war breaking out in eastern Europe.

Check it out in the single’s accompanying music video.

Pretty Little Goat is supported on this track by Jackson Dulaney on steel guitar.

Look for Big Storm, the single, on Friday, February 25, from popular download and streaming services online. Pre-save is enabled now for Spotify.

The full album is set for a March 25 release.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.