Neko Case should be a far more famous songwriter than she is. She wields words with the magic and power of a sorceress. “That Teenage Feeling” has been in constant rotation on my playlists lately, the struggle to love someone with the innocence of youth after you’ve lived a life that’s known heartbreak. My favorite verse is the fervent hope of her brave friend who declares; I don’t care if forever never comes ’Cause I’m holding out for that teenage feeling…

I knew that feeling once when I was very young where I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, was fueled and…


Everything about this song resonates for this country girl but this isn’t about me. This is about Yola.

I stumbled across her when Paste magazine recommended her album Walk Through Fire as an Americana album I should get to sooner than later. I clicked on it, listened to every song in one sitting, downloaded it and haven’t been able to stop listening.

Yolanda Quarterly or “Yola” grew up in Bristol, England in a home where music was banned but you know, she had a calling and followed it. The world is a better place because she did.

Dan Auerbach…

Joni Mitchell turned seventy-five this year and I tried to write a song recommendation but really, have you ever tried to choose one Joni song for anything? I mean the woman is an influencer.

I always cite her as my single greatest influence. Multitudes of singer-songwriters, artists and writers say she is the one who has had the greatest impact on their work. The woman is a genius, a one of a kind. Her art resonates through generations. It endures and will be around long after my ashes are spread.

I grew up surrounded by her in my childhood home…

Scrolling through my news feed, I am certain that we are spiraling deeper into another circle of hell. Another hero falls to an inability to separate mentoring from his penis. Minions are stirred by a terrifying statement devised to incite fear into their feeble minds and deep seeded mommy issues.

Between despair and another cup of coffee I see an act of defiance from baby faced warriors. Volume up, I hear the voices of our future. Parkland survivors are pissed. They refuse the ridicule and scorn flung at them from pitchforked, poo tossing peasants who still believe their shadow is…

I grew up in western Montana where getting from anywhere to somewhere means a long drive. It means stretches of freeway where the speed limit is a suggestion. Two lane highways that take you through reservations, eye blink towns with one traffic light swaying from a wire tether, a church, and a bar. Bigger towns might have a feed store and a Dairy Queen. Dirt and gravel forest service roads lead into the wilderness, dead ends and secret passages. Snow-capped mountain ranges touch the sky, peaks slow dance with clouds. …

Every year I put out lists of my favorite albums and songs. I base them solely on what I listened to on repeat. This year Australia and North Carolina artists lived in my ears and topped my charts. I don’t know what it says about these locations, if they are the heart of emergence or if their sound is the reflection of the year I had.

It was a phoenix kind of year for me. I wrote the first draft of a novel out of the ashes of a pile of words that once told the story of retribution but…

So these can trade places on the lineup at any given time but these were my go to albums of the past year. Check them out if you are curious.

1) H. C. McEntire — Lionheart

2) Brandi Carlile — By The Way, I Forgive You

3) Anderson East — Encore

4) Phil Cook — People Are My Drug

5) Field Report — Summertime Sounds

6) Boygenius — Boygenius/EP

7) Ashley McBride — Girl Going Nowhere

8) Darren Jessee — The Jane, Room 217

9) Donovan Woods — Both Ways

10) Courtney Marie Andrews — May Your Kindness Remain


These are the songs I listened to on repeat in 2018. Many of them are also on the albums I played over and over. While it is always hard to limit the list to 50 I tried to show the variety of artists and moods that infiltrated the year.

“I carried you with me everywhere I went. I carried everything ’til my back was bent…”

I’ve been trying to write about my dad. There’s one line and then another. No, scratch that. I mean it’s complicated. You know, the way fathers and daughters are.

What a hot mess he was, gregarious as hell. He taught high school English and Drama. Beloved. His students adored him. They still see me in town give me a big hug and say, “I loved your Dad.” I nod and assure them that he loved them too. He did.

Make no mistake; he was…

Erin L. Cork

Writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry in Missoula, Montana.

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