OK, you may want to sit down for this one (that includes my most hardcore, long term Bang2writers):
I love country music.
I know, I know; it’s hard to believe an English Rose (ahem) like me, whose otherwise most mainstream music choice is Prince and Soundgarden, could love country music. I’ve never been to America. I have no particular inclination to go right now, either (though if I do, I’m wearing a cowgirl hat and boots for the whole trip, with a hand canon in the glove box and a shotgun on the back seat of my 1987 Black Buick. Oooooooooh yeeeeaaaaah. And I’ll probably rob a couple of gas stations on the way, Thelma & Louise style – hey America, I GAVE YOU FAIR WARNING!).
In all seriousness though, what do I like about country music? Well, I guess it appeals to the writer in me, ‘cos so often it’s the storytelling in the lyrics that comes out on top (and probably why I don’t tend to like the often repetitive lyrics of dance music).
I’ve written on here before about using music as inspiration for our work, so here are three fave country songs of mine with three stories I feel *could* inspire/inform my work one day:
WHAT’S IT ABOUT? The story of John Lee, a smalltown boy whose father and grandfather made “moonshine” – and whose legacy he continued and expanded with drugs, upon after returning from the Vietnam War.
KEY LYRICS: I volunteered for the Army on my birthday; they draft the white trash first (round here anyway).. I did two tours of duty in Vietnam; I came home with a brand new plan.
TANIN BED SONG – Shawn Mullins
WHAT’S IT ABOUT? The story of Maria, a girl from Miami who ends up married to a waster in Texas, living in a “double-wide” (two mobile homes, welded together apparently). This is the story of her leaving him and her old life, taking the kids and starting a new one.
KEY LYRICS: There’s a twister coming… And you haven’t got a clue! I’m not gonna sit around in this double-wide and wait around for you… ‘Cos I’m taking the microwave oven; and I’m taking the colour TV… I’m packing up the Chevy with the kids… and what’s left of me.
THE WRECK OF THE EDMUND FITZGERALD – Gordon Lightfoot
WHAT’S IT ABOUT? The true story of a ship – The Edmund Fitzgerald – and how it sank, killing its crew, on November 10th, 1975.
KEY LYRICS: Does anyone know where the grace of God goes, when the waves turn the minutes to hours? The searchers all say they’d have made Whitefish Bay, if they’d put fifteen more miles behind her. They might’ve split up; or they might’ve capsized; may have broke deep and took water. And all that remains is the faces and names of the wives, the sons and the daughters.
What are you fave songs with whole stories attached? Over to you…
Yup… Music does it for me, and I have a wide repertoire. Trouble is I find I often latch on to a single tune, whilst working on a story, and play it on a repeated cycle. I know I’m finished, not by word blindness, but when I’m sick to death of the chosen tune!
"My wife thinks you're dead" by Junior Brown. It's about that moment when you bump into someone you really didn't want to see. "We'll have to say hello maybe some other time instead 'cos you're wanted by the police and my wife thinks you're dead."