Why listen? For soulfulness and passion; a taste of rural noir; an example of how to turn biography into art.
When the country-fried hardboiled crime drama Justified needed a song to close out each of its cordite-scorched season finales, it chose the Darrell Scott-penned ditty "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive." Unfortunately, the show's creators ignored the original version, settling instead on a poppy cover by Nashville star Brad Paisley. That's a shame, because Scott infuses the noirish narrative with a soulfulness befitting the gloomy hollers of old Appalachia. It doesn't hurt that he drew on his own family history in chronicling the attempts of two star-crossed lovers to escape a corner of Kentucky that claims the life of almost everyone who ventures into it. Spare and striking, "Harlan" shows how to turn biography into art.