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Letitia’s lyrics have never been more sharply focused than on this song about a husband deserted by his wife. The opening couplet, “There’s wrinkles in my shirt sleeves and dishes in the sink/ And nothing but ham on bread for nigh on a week,” immediately and vividly sets the scene. Backed by guest Anna Roberts-Gevalt’s fiddle, Tom’s upright bass and her own clawhammer banjo, Letitia sings in the voice of a husband, who begins by berating an “ungrateful woman” and ends by begging her to “come back home.” This gender switch is rare in pop music but not in old-time country music, and Letitia is convincing in the role of the abusive husband. “I wanted to write a feminist, old-time country song, because there are so many murder ballads where the woman dies. I wanted a song where the woman gets away from the husband and her economic bondage.”

lyrics

here’s wrinkles in my shirt sleeves and dishes in the sink
And nothing but ham on bread for nigh on a week
You left your worn-out apron and took your brand new boots
In the suitcase I bought you for our first honeymoon

Go darling go, it’s a long lonesome road
But the fire in your heart, and the trouble it would start
Would burn this old house down

Round the time I lost your temper you stopped curling up your hair
You’d go out by the fence post just stand right there and stare
Well you ungrateful woman, you made me play the fool
Well I could teach you more than you will ever learn in school

Left the door wide open, cold air blowing in
I don’t bother to shut it, cause you’ll come back again
Well you ungrateful woman, by now you ought to know
You should swallow your pride my dear and come back home

credits

from Parts & Labor, released February 27, 2015
Recorded by Will McKindley-Ward, mixed by Steve Steckler at Asparagus Media. Fiddle by Anna Roberts-Gevalt

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Letitia VanSant Baltimore, Maryland

Letitia VanSant & the Bonafides are a Baltimore & Washington, DC -based quartet that straddle the boundary between acoustic string band music, roots rock, and the confessional folk of a singer-songwriter.

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