Song of the Day, February 3: Panic Attack Blues by the Rails

RailsPABToday’s song is Panic Attack Blues. When Kami Thompson and James Walbourne joined forces, they each had an impressive body of work behind them. She is the daughter of Richard and Linda Thompson and has worked extensively with both, providing vocals, guitar, and songwriting. He’s a brilliant guitarist and solid singer who has worked with Son Volt and the Pernice Brothers. Both have one great solo album to their credit. They met, hit it off musically, got married, and formed a band.

The Rails is this great pair, usually backed by drummer Cody Dickinson and bassist Danny Williams. Their debut album, Fair Warning, exceeds all expectations, providing an amazing set of songs. Panic Attack Blues is the highlight. It’s a great modern anxiety song with driving beat and whirlwind lyrics. Walbourne sings lead, agonizing over how difficult it can be just to cope. Thompson’s vocals flow effortlessly around his, creating a compelling synergy. The song is propelled by Walbourne’s guitar, ably supported by the rhythm section. For the instrumental break, he provides a delicious mandolin line. The great Eliza Carthy — also the daughter of musical legends — provides a scorching fiddle that ties it all together.

Enjoy this amazing song today.

BONUS — Thompson and Walbourne also recorded an acoustic version of the song. It shows off his virtuosity, their great vocal sympathy, and how stripping down a great song can reveal its powers.

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About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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