The husband and wife duo that makes up Whitehorse, Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet, probably spent their pandemic lockdown similar to most of us—cooped up inside their home—but based on the sounds of their latest opus, it had to be with more whisky, tequila, and John Prine records on repeat.
They now emerge from slumber with their new album, I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying, an expert mix of Canadiana, Country & Western, and Psychedelic Folk. We’ve got slide guitar, red hot cowpoke rockabilly guitar lines, soothing vocals from McClelland and Doucet, and an atmosphere that feels modern, but also like listening to the outlaw country greats or the collaboration between Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood.
Under the Whitehorse moniker, McClelland and Doucet have come close to touching every genre, save for metal, but this time it just seemed right to go for a more stripped back country album. Maybe it was the isolation or the complex thoughts that clouded their minds as they realized all of society was stuck on auto pilot while weathering the storm, social distancing from their loved ones.
Of course, with Whitehorse nothing is half-assed, and this new record is no exception. The characters in their musical stories feel fully-realized—the judge, the guy going to the RCMP with a missing persons report, the farmer’s wife—blurring the lines between autobiography or even satire. As they both tell the listener in the track in “Manitoba Bound,” you shouldn’t take what they’re singing as gospel. This gives this album the feel of a Coen brothers movie—when you’re not sure what’s true, but you’re thoroughly entertained all the same.