Last Night I Dreamt of Mississippi – Nicolai Dunger – Late Nights with Turin Brakes

I came across Last Night I Dreamt of Mississippi by Nicolai Dunger on the compilation Late Nights with Turin Brakes. A pleasantly careworn song, sung with a nonchalant, sleepy attitude, it quickly ended up on my list of compulsively repeated songs. It starts off with a generally incomprehensible voice-over of an air hostess speaking right before takeoff, which actually has nothing to do with the rest of the song, it seems. The whole tone of the piece quickly changes with bluesy guitar chords and a catchy rhythm, which sound slightly hazy and drunk. Some unexpected notes here and there keep your attention until the fiddle starts up, with some lazy slides. The whole ensemble, even after the vocals start, has an almost trancelike cohesiveness, with very little countermelody or counterpoint. All the instrumentals follow almost the same trajectory, with Dunger’s cigarette-and-Jack-Daniels-filled voice joining right in, making the whole thing sound smooth and round. Pictures of moonless nights in the rocking chair on the porch almost fill my head but then some vague sense of desperation kicks in. It could be a much more run-of-the-mill song but somehow manages to amaze with its transparency. I haven’t heard anything else by Dunger, but I bet there’s incredible stuff out there.

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