December 30, 2022

No Roof No Floor

Scout GillettScout Gillett

I generally don’t do year-end lists, but I like to share a couple of my favorite things from the past year. In this interstitial time between Christmas and New Year’s, I get a chance to reflect on what I’ve enjoyed while having very few demands on my time.

I first wrote about Scout Gillett earlier in the year, when she covered a Broadcast song, before her debut record No Roof, No Floor was released. I was looking forward to the full-length, but since Americana/country/folk is not my most-loved genre, I wasn’t sure how much I was going to get into it. Though I enjoyed it at first listen, it’s taken me a few months to come back to it and give it the attention it deserves. The title track is what I’ve picked for my favorite song of the year. The song has stuck with me in a way that no others in 2022 have.

It doesn’t hurt that No Roof No Floor” follows familiar patterns set by the Angel Olson song Sister” from 2016’s My Woman. It starts off slowly and softly, carefully welcoming the listener into Gillett’s world and letting them get settled. It rumbles along at a steady pace, convincing us that, as Gillett says, lovin’ should be this easy if we just would believe it,” until a break in the middle. It’s just enough time for Gillett to catch her breath along with a simple strum before belting out the chorus with her powerful voice, with all emphasis on those lines that she keeps coming back to. It’s as if she’s spent almost all of her lyrics in the first part of the song, and she has to put the full force of her emotional energy into those particular words.

In this live version of No Roof No Floor” from the Chicken Shack, where the album was also recorded, you get a sense of the physical effort performing the song takes. As Gillett stretches her mouth as wide as it can possibly go to give the chorus the punch it has in the studio recording, Athena from her backing band shreds the guitar solo that makes it feel like the whole room is going to implode. Nothing actually comes down, and you still have a roof as well as a floor, but the space is changed from all that has transpired.

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