Ever since we included ‘This Ain’t My First Rodeo’ in our Best Country Rodeo Songs playlist, we’ve been having a bit of a Vern Gosdin moment here in the Holler offices. So the new album from Melonie Cannon landed in our laps at a particularly fortuitous moment.
Taken from her brilliant forthcoming album, A Tribute to Vern Gosdin, these are songs that are especially personal to Melonie Cannon. Produced by her father Buddy Cannon - and Vern Gosdin's writing partner - the album pays tribute to the man that encouraged Buddy to pay attention to his daughter's voice all those years ago.
“These songs weren’t just playing on my radio, they were being sung at my kitchen table," Melonie told us. "They are a part of my being; they are my childhood. I lived through the thoughts and ideas that turned words and music into country treasures."
Taking on any Vern Gosdin song was always going to be an act of bravery in itself, but covering ‘Is It Rainin' at Your House’ feels like an especially bold move. Luckily for Melonie Cannon, she has a voice that’s more than up to the challenge, capable of lifting you up and completely tearing you apart in the turn of a phrase.
“Do you tremble when the phone rings and you think I'm on the line?”, she sings, as the full weight of the song comes crashing down around her in all its devastating glory.
Originally released by Gosdin on his 1987 album Chiseled in Stone, it was the last of his singles to make the Top 10 and has been covered by Jamey Johnson, Brad Paisley and Lorrie Morgan in the past. But like the other songs on the album, there’s something about Cannon’s versions that feel like they are the quintessential reimagining of these Vern Gosdin songs; as if they were in some way always destined to be sung by her.
"This has always been one of my favourite songs,” she explained to us. “Way before I knew how sad it was, I was connected to songs like that, the ones that matter to your heart when I was a kid. I was immersed in Dean Dillon, Hank Cochran and Vern Gosdin songs as long as I have memories. This song is all three of those men in one magic melody. I just knew this truth. How do you start a Vern Gosdin tribute record without starting with the saddest song you’ve heard? The honor I have singing these Vern songs is more than I can put into words. No one knows how much he taught me in the years I needed guidance. Between him and my daddy, you had to be as good as they were or they moved on… so they taught me.”
‘Is It Rainin' At Your House’ is premiering exclusively at Holler below:
If you think Melonie Cannon's voice sounds familiar that's probably because there's a good chance it is. You can hear her singing on records by Kenny Chesney, Willie Nelson, Reba McEntire, Sammy Kershaw, Jamey Johnson, Billy Ray Cyrus, Alison Krauss and John Michael Montgomery just to name a few.
It's a testament to her standing in country music that the rest of the album includes collaborations with Willie Nelson, Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, Jamey Johnson and Cody Jinks among others.
The full tracklisting for A Tribute to Vern Gosdin is below:
1. Is It Rainin’ at Your House
2. Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music) with Jim Lauderdale
3. Right in the Wrong Direction
4. If You’re Gonna Do Me Wrong (Do It Right) with Vince Gill
5. Way Down Deep with Doyle Lawson & Jamey Johnson
6. Do You Believe Me Now
7. Dream of Me
8. Till the End with Willie Nelson
9. I Know the Way to You By Heart with Alison Krauss & Sidney Cox
10. I’m Still Crazy
11. I Guess I Had Your Leavin’ Comin’
12. Set ‘Em Up Joe with Cody Jinks
13. Is It That Time Again
A Tribute to Vern Gosdin by Melonie Cannon is released on May 26. Click here to preorder and presave it.