"Gothic Country" (also known as "Dark Country", "Southern Gothic" and "Gothic Americana") is a genre of Country Music characterized by its dark sound and lyrics. It is, in essence, a combination of Alternative Rock, Goth Rock, or Heavy Metal and Country Music.
It shares much in common with the Southern Gothic genre of fiction and many songs are inspired by works in that genre. Gothic Country songs feature the typical alcohol, murder, religious themes, family, and romance aspects of country meshed with darker topics like poverty, murder, and supernatural forces.
Gothic Country Artists:
- 16 Horsepower
- Beat Circus
- Blues Saraceno
- Brown Bird
- Neko Case
- Johnny Cash
- Justin Cross
- The Dead South
- Dead Brothers
- The Denver Gentlemen (a short-lived band that was very influential on the entire gothic-country scene)
- The Devil Makes Three
- Karen Elson
- Murder by Death
- Graveyard Train
- Hank Williams III
- The Heavy Horses
- Me and That Man (a side project of Behemoth frontman Adam Darski with English-born musician John Porter)
- Mean Mary
- Jay Munly
- The Pine Box Boys
- Quaker City Night Hawks
- Slim Cessna's Auto Club
- Nico Vega
- Those Poor Bastards
- Tom Waits
- Woven Hand
- Voltaire released one gothic country album, Hate Lives in a Small Town.
Other Notable Gothic Country Songs:
The following is a list of notable songs that fit into the aesthetic despite the artists not exactly being Gothic Country.
- Bury Me In Southern Ground by Rebel Son. The song is sung from the point of view of someone who had a hard life on a reconstructed southern land and is now old and on his death bed.
Dixie land is where I wanna make my final stand
I don't care if I'm in a box or not when they lay me down
Just bury me in Southern Ground.
- Country Death Song by Violent Femmes is about a farmer in the midst of a drought with little food. The song tells from his perspective about how in desperation he wakes his youngest daughter one night and takes her to a cave where he pushes her down a well. It ends with him telling the listener about how he's "going to the barn to hang [himself] in shame".
Tropes present in this genre:
- The Alcoholic: Heavy drinking and alcoholism appear in many songs, often to go with the western feel of the music.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Overlaps with the themes of alcoholism.
- Cool Horse: Horses go with the "old western" aesthetic.
- Murder Ballad: Quite a few songs involve killing someone.
- War Is Hell: War is rarely, if ever, portrayed as anything but awful.
- Weird West: Not an unusual thing to see on this genre's covers◊ or lyrics (a Deal with the Devil is one of the typical song "plots").