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Standout track: No. 3, “She Dreams,” in which Virginia coal miner’s daughter Karen Collins applies her vocal twang to a countrypolitan melody. It’s a recession saga about a woman who wanted to live on Park Avenue, but now simply hopes to pay her rent. Collins recorded the album at Gizmo Recording Company in Silver Spring and produced it with guitarist Ira Gitlin.
Musical Inspiration: Collins, who also sings with The Blue Moon Cowgirls and Squeeze Bayou, says that this was the 12th and last song recorded for the album. “One day I was reading the newspaper and read something about a woman trying to pay off her Visa card and the next line had something about pizza,” she says. So she wrote “She Dreams” with a clever Visa/pizza rhyme. “I came up with the melody thinking it would have an early ’60s feel to it.”
Team Effort: Bass player Geff King contributed the line, “no overdrafts blowing through the checkbook,” and a lyric about the poor lady’s car breaking down. Collins piggybacked on it with, “Her four-door chariot is in the parking lot.” So how did this collaborative bunch meet in the first place? “I met Geff when we were both asked to be part of a folklore society workshop on harmony singing,” says Collins. “I met Ira many years ago when Squeeze Bayou played a double bill with The Oklahoma Twisters, a Western swing band that Ira plays bass in.” Gitlin plays guitar on this tune and others. “He’s a perfectionist, and he did many takes on some of the parts.” —Steve Kiviat
Karen Collins and The Backroads Band plays June 6 at the Strathmore Mansion.