India Ramey's third studio album Snake Handler takes listeners on a very personal journey through Ramey's formative years and beyond.
The songs on Snake Handler explore the domestic abuse of Ramey's mother by her father, the angst of having her father's blood in her, Pentecostal church experiences, a dead end town; murder, sex and corruption in a small town; a town ruined by flood, and finally, a visit to her estranged father in a coma on his deathbed.
None of it is light fair. It's all pretty heavy and heady. I don't want to put words in her mouth, but to this listener, it seems like an album bent on exorcising demons and coming out the other side in a better frame of mind.
As any regular reader here knows, I usually don't spend that many words on the the lyrics/themes of any album. For me it's mostly about the music. However, once the music draws me in, and the subject matter is worthy, I like to point it out.
Snake Handler has been described as Southern Gothic because of some of the darker subject matter. Mostly it's just a swampy record describing real things, exploring grown up subjects, It leans country, sometimes more than others, but it's real instruments played by real people.
Here is the title track "Snake Handler":
And here is a live acoustic version of"Devil's Den", probably my favorite song: