House of the Rising Sun Albums


Roxi's southern gothic arrangement of 'House of the Rising Sun'.

"I came up with the idea for this arrangement after listening to Bobbie Gentry’s ‘Ode to Billy Jo’. I love the strings on that tune, and feel like they’re absolutely crucial to the southern gothic feel of the song. House of the Rising Sun was initially written for a woman to sing, which changes the meaning of the lyrics a great deal from the Animals’ arrangement that most folks are familiar with – about a guy that apparently just can’t stop visiting a New Orleans brothel. The original version is about the sex worker herself, and my arrangement goes back to that.

I changed the chord progression slightly to be a bit darker, a bit more dissonant, and added fiddle to act both as a sort of call and response to the vocal phrases, and to duet with the piano at the intro and the bridge. I was looking to have them intertwine in the same way the main character feels her life is entwined with the brothel. A second fiddle, and then a third are added to the song to match the intensity of the vocal as the song progresses – I wanted the desperation in her voice to be echoed in the dissonance of the strings. I wrote a partial, unsettling resolution to take place at the end of the song, because for her, there is seemingly no end, and no hope in sight."