Tom Brosseau on Hank Williams’ “You Win Again”:
When I was a kid, my family rented a cabin on Grace Lake every summer for a week long, a peaceful, smaller lake with sandy shores, clear water, surrounded by white birch trees, about 20 miles from the town of Bemidji, Minnesota. The cabin was an old log cabin. My mother had vacationed there when she was a kid. Little had changed since then. Same linoleum floors, cupboards, same washroom and sink. The cabin had to be shut down during the cold season. It wasn’t winterized like most Minnesota cabins nowadays. In fact, today cabins are not cabins, they’re called lake homes and people live in them year-round.
On days when my brother, sister and I were worn out from the sun, or water-logged from too much swimming, we watched whatever we could on TV by tilting the antennas, crossing them back and forth like scissor chopsticks. The Benny Hill Show, Reading Rainbow, Price Is Right. Aside from that, there wasn’t much else in the entertainment department. No internet. No cell phones. When it rained we played board games and listened to records on the record player. Doris Day, Mario Lanza, Jerry Lee Lewis. That’s where I first came across the song “You Win Again”, on a Jerry Lee record. His rendition in particular is thrilling. His piano playing, the 1950s slap-back effect on his voice, what you might call the Sun Records sound.
We would take little side trips into Bemidji or Cass Lake with my mom for ice-cream, groceries, or to Crazy Days, an annual summer event celebrated in Minnesota towns where stores slashed their prices, rolled their wares out to the curb, and grab bags would be sold twenty-five cents a pop. At the bait and tackle shops, my brother and I would root through the colorful fishing tackle, the spinners and bobbers, the rubber minnows. I have carried “You Win Again” with me nearly all my life. It brings back good memories and happy days.
“In Brosseau’s hands, American songs, for all their inherent grittiness, flutter and float, and some essential element is laid bare. We hear in Rodgers’ songs some traces of juke joint blues, or Cajun ballads, or corridos. The story of our music is complex, but for a moment, in Brosseau’s hands, we see a few of its strands, and the connections seem simple and graceful.”
Chris Kissel – L.A. Record
“There is something so, incredibly pure about Tom Brosseau’s voice. An airy, light quality that is…its…it just makes me smile. He has a distinct ability to capture you, the whole you, and pause you in time with his striking vocals and plaintive, wistful guitar style. Uncomplicated and effortless, words flow off his tongue and notes dance off of his finger tips. You could just as easily see Tom sitting in with the Watkins at the Family Hour or envision him on tour with the likes of Hank Williams 66 years ago. He is timeless…and he has gone and covered the lonesomest singer in country to great effect.”
/Brian Carroll – Red Line Roots