Track of the Day: 'Ain't It Sweet'

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Like many people, I suspect, I recall important periods of my life mostly by what I was listening to at the time. Any big moment requires (or acquires) a soundtrack. I recently moved from D.C. to Durham, North Carolina, and the soundtrack of the move has been Phil Cook’s new album Southland Mission.

It doesn’t hurt that Cook is based in Durham, but like the best work by Ry Cooder, whom he cites as a hero, the record seems to capture the palimpsest of American music, the romance of the road, and the comforts of home. “Ain’t It Sweet,” a bouncy Southern-rock groove—fiddle, organ, Skynyrd-esque piano, and a soaring slide-guitar solo—seems made to accompany a cold drink on the porch at the end of a long, late-summer day.