Canadian post-punk artist Bria Salmena (with help from FRIGS bandmate Duncan Hay Jennings) previews her new Cuntry Covers Vol. 2 EP with a fabulous cover of Paula Cole’s ’90s hit “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?”.
“I found Cole’s delivery to be both brooding and chilling,” says Salmena. “The lyrics are confused: discovery, disillusionment, despair. I wanted to make it even more dystopian by turning it into a dreamy dance track. We wanted to stretch this song as far as it would go while honoring the elements of it that make it memorable.”
The “Cowboys” cover is so sonically rich and danceable that it makes you all but forget that the song chronicles how women do the household work and childrearing while men scoot off to the bar at 5pm.
There’s a touch of irony when Salmena sings “where’s my lonely ranger?” because she and Jennings are members of the touring band for masked alt-country artist Orville Peck. At least Orville can’t be blamed for the sins of country’s redneck/hetero culture.
The upcoming EP (which releases in late February) is Bria’s second installment of country covers that are both an homage and commentary on country music’s conservative roots and primarily white/hetero viewpoints. In addition to the Paula Cole cover, the new EP will feature new interpretations of Loretta Lynn’s “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind)” and the Glen Campbell hit “By The Time I Get To Phoenix.”
Hear Bria’s cover of “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?” below, or find it on streaming services.