From The Desk Of The Secret Sisters: Butch Anthony

Laura and Lydia Rogers came from a musical family but neither had seriously considered a career in music until Laura traveled to Nashville for an open audition, where she caught the ear of industry execs and producers. Asked to return for a follow-up, Laura brought Lydia along. Shortly thereafter, the Secret Sisters were on a plane to L.A. to record demos for their 2010 self-titled debut on Universal, produced by T Bone Burnett. Sophomore effort Put Your Needle Down followed in 2014. In the interim they toured with Bob Dylan and recorded with Jack White. Put Your Needle Down, a respectable album on the slick country-revival model, garnered uneven reviews. Then the Secret Sisters were dropped by their label, but they didn’t stop writing. The new You Don’t Own Me Anymore‘s cheeky title obliquely recalls the Secret Sisters’ major-label woes—as does much of the lyrical content—but the album (on New West) as a whole fits into a long tradition of country statements about survival past deep damage. Laura and Lydia will be guest editing all week, Read our new feature on them.

Laura and Lydia: Butch Anthony is a self-taught contemporary folk artist living in Seale, Ala., on his family farm, just near the Georgia state line. His property is covered over with his art—old portraits painted over with skeletons, wind chimes made out of animal bones, the most unique pieces of furniture you’ve ever seen. He even owns Leon Russell’s old 1992 white Cadillac that he has turned into an art piece itself; he has welded at least a hundred gold trophies to its exterior. He calls his style “intertwangleism,” and it inspires us to see him making art from items he sees around him, be it an old table saw or an acclaimed Bo Bartlett painting. We also find his work important—Butch has something to say, which is a common trait among any artist we admire. This past spring, we were lucky enough to film our video for “Tennessee River Runs Low” at Butch’s place. Check it out here; you’ll get a glimpse of just how unique he is, and you’ll probably want one of his paintings by the end of it.