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Entries We Love: Caleb Bailey & The Bottom Dollars, 'White Knuckle, Black Lung'

Hometown: Lexington, Ky.

Pairs well with: Feeling high lonesome

With the melancholy wail of the fiddle and the catch of Caleb Bailey's voice, "White Knuckle, Black Lung" paints a portrait of a man whose hurt can't be hidden. Explaining that "Paw never fought in the army / But he was always at war," Bailey shares the isolation at the end of a lifetime of hard labor in the valley of tears. But rather than demand the healing of a sadness that might be too deep to fix, Caleb Bailey & The Bottom Dollars meet the man where he is. The band captures the heartache with empathy and grace, sharing in the sorrow as they sing: "Folgers in the mornin' / Bonded whiskey by night / Cough drops and Tylenol / Anything to help him get by."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Fi O'Reilly Sánchez
Fi O'Reilly is a production assistant for Alt.Latino.