Have you ever wondered about the lyrics of a song–the  story behind the words? I often do, trying to piece together what is told and what is left unsaid/unsung.

While browsing through Amazon’s Prime Music (I get this service as a part of my Amazon Prime Account) a few days ago, I stumbled upon an album–are they still called that?–titled: Blackbirds, by Gretchen Peters. I had never heard of this artist, let alone the song, but the cover looked intriguing, so I gave a listen to the title track.

The opening lines–“Blackbirds came at dusk and they roosted in the cane…caused such a ruckus that it shook my windowpane. And I’m covered up in dirt and I stink of kerosene, and no matter what I do, I can’t get clean.”–reached out and grabbed me by the throat, demanding my complete attention, until upon ending, I was released from its death-grip.

I drew a shaky breath, and thought, Oh my God, what a story! It was reminiscent of Vicki Lawrence’s song from 1973: “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia”, but even darker–creepy Southern Gothic at its finest.

I proceeded to listen to the other songs included on Blackbirds, and each and every one spoke to me on a dismal and haunting level. I downloaded the entire album.

Friends, it was love at first listen.

Then I trotted over to YouTube to see if there might be a video of “Blackbirds”, and I’m happy to say there was. I watched it and was even more enthralled by the song. Who was murdered–the father or the brother? The lines: “He planted seeds of evil, and we harvested the shame”, leads me to believe it was the brother. What was the evil planted? What was the shame harvested? My mind comes up with a few scenarios, but keeps sticking on one.

Watch the video. Listen closely to the lyrics. And if you wish, share your thoughts concerning the story woven into the song.

I added a second song here that I think worthy of your time: “When All You Got is a Hammer”. It deals with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Then there’s the bittersweet “Jubilee” that brought back memories of my parents in their final years. This one brought tears to my eyes.

I could go on and on, praising every single song, but I’ll contain myself. Please give the two songs I’ve added links to a listen, and if you like them, I think all the songs from the album is available on YouTube. In my opinion, every one is a winner.


25 thoughts on “Blackbirds

  1. I just came by looking for coffee–too early for sweet tea 🙂 I commented on this post from my phone when it came up, but I usually have to check now since it hasn’t been sending them. I thought this was such a great post because I’ve always been fascinated by people who know the lyrics of every song. I never took the time to listen to music and never formed the habit, other that enjoying meditative music in the background. It was really neat to read the words from this song and I see that its just another form of storytelling! I loved your take on Blackbirds and how it triggered that incredible imagination of yours! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love being introduced to new artists. Thank you for introducing me to this amazing lady! Jubilee really undid me. She is a brilliant artist. I love her tone. The words of songs and the meaning behind them is another world. You are listening to amazing stories. They set their own imagery. I love murder ballads. I actually have a playlist just for them. Sounds pretty dark I know, but there are some amazing murder ballads that have been written. This is one of my favourites “Where the Wild Roses Grow” a duet by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Kylie Minogue. Just love it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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