My Unhappy Hour with Jessi Alexander

How Decatur County Red Turned Into a Grown-Woman Record

What has always lifted me up when it comes Jessi Alexander’s songwriting is the way it brings me down. I think it was Lee Ann Womack who said it best: sad songs make me happy.

So when Alexander and I booked a happy hour hang at Nashville’s Urban Cowboy — to talk about her new solo album Decatur County Red, due out March 27 — it really turned into the two of us just talking about the how some of the best country songs are about the worst things. And we started in 1974. Saddest song ever, whether you wrote it or not?

Alexander: I am such a lover of old country that we could be here for three more hours answering that. But there is an old George Jones song called “The Grand Tour” that I’ve always loved. He is basically giving the grand tour of a lonely house. It’s a beautifully written, epic song. But another one that wrecks me is Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” (also from 1974). She nailed it. That feeling of when you know it’s over and it’s done, but you really do still love him.

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