It’s the kind of week where I’m playing music on repeat, just getting hooked on one song and playing it over and over again in my headphones until I make it home. It’s “Look At Miss Ohio” from Gillian Welch, a modern folk ballad for the lost girl if there ever was one.

I stumbled across it a few years back as a Blind Pilot cover, then again this week after giving “Soul Journey” a few listens in an attempt to get to know Welch better. Her discography is big enough to be intimidating, as it seems to me she’s one of those artists where you either know her name and not her music, or obsess over the entire catalog. Put me on the path toward the latter.

“Look At Miss Ohio” jumped out at me not only because I was familiar with the melody and the hook, but man, that voice. The way Welch lets her voice drawl and fall and fade away is mesmorizing, hyponotizing, laying raw truth and feeling to what she’s singing. As I continue to familiarize with her work I see she does this with every song, and her raspy tone can go low or high, loud or soft, with equal intensity. But in “Miss Ohio,” she breathes life and lust and dreams into this character with her tone that pairs perfectly with the feeling.

It’s not hard to know what this song is about, even though about half of it uses the same words and phrases. But you know that rag-top and can see it clear as day, maybe something old and busted and chipped baby blue. You know she’s as a fierce as her mamma but nothing like her. You know what running around means, all dates and late nights and dreams that maybe come true for a glimmer of a minute. “I want to do right/but not right now” is such a beautiful uses of repetitive language, turning the word in on itself with its multiple meanings. But listening to this song, you know what right is — it’s following the rules, it’s playing by the book, it’s meeting invisible expectations for what a life ought to look like — and you can hear the push and the pull and the dissatisfaction with having to abide by it.

“Oh me oh my oh, look at Miss Ohio
She a-runnin’ around with her rag-top down
She says I want to do right , but not right now
Oh I want to do right but not right now.

Gonna drive to Atlanta and live out this fantasy
Running around with the rag-top down
Yeah I want to do right but not right now

Had your arm around her shoulder, a regimental soldier
An’ mamma starts pushing that wedding gown
Yeah you want to do right but not right now

Oh me oh my oh, would ya look at Miss Ohio
She’s a-runnin’ around with the rag-top down
She says I want to do right but not right now

I know all about it, so you don’t have to shout it
I’m gonna straighten it out somehow
Yeah I want to do right but not right now

Oh me oh my oh, look at Miss Ohio
She a-runnin’ around with her rag-top down
She says I want to do right , but not right now
Oh I want to do right but not right now.
~Look At Miss Ohio
Gillian Welch, Soul Journey