Smog’s 1999 masterwork Knock Knock — which turned 20 years old last year and happens to be this week’s Sunday Review over at Pitchfork — begins with a spare, tense, flickering ballad called “Let’s Move To The Country,” presumably inspired by Bill Callahan’s residence in a South Carolina farmhouse with Cat Power’s Chan Marshall, a relationship that was falling apart at the time. Today Callahan has shared a new version of the same song he recorded for his new album Gold Record, and the mood is much different this time around.
Callahan has been sharing one song per week from Gold Record ahead of its release in early September. Every Monday we get a new track, and they’ve all been gems so far, up to and including last week’s “The Mackenzies.” That also applies to “Let’s Move To The Country,” a song whose classic bona fides require no defense. This new treatment of the song is naked and acoustic, in keeping with the vibe of the rest of the album, and the tone is more contented, seemingly derived from the same Austin-area domestic bliss that informed last year’s mammoth comeback album Shepherd In A Sheepskin Vest. Notably, he tweaked the lyrics in accordance with his current dad life: “Let’s start a family/ Let’s have a baby/ Or maybe two.”
Listen below alongside the original.
Gold Record is out 9/4 on Drag City.