Katie Moulton is a writer and music critic from St. Louis. Her writing appears in No Depression, Tin House, Catapult, the Village Voice, and elsewhere. A 2019–20 Tulsa Artist Fellow, she’s at work on a book of creative nonfiction.
“Bad Case of the Blues” shouldn’t be compelling, but it is—because of Martell, the way she guides, colors, and shades the song. She infuses it with the dissonance of self-knowledge, even as she takes her problems home to Mama in the country and deprecatingly calls herself “Miss Smarty.” The track shares a title with torch songs by greats Dinah Washington and Dusty Springfield and seems to warn of the perils of holding down-home values in the big city.