My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008


As I usually am when I make discussion posts, right now I’m bored, so here I am!

First of all, Merry Christmas to everyone! (Or Happy Holidays, whatever, you know what I mean.) For Christmas, I got 50 Greatest Hits, the 3 disc box set from Reba McEntire, so needless to say, I’ve been listening to a lot of Reba, and I mean a lot! (According to my lastfm page, I’ve listened to around 70 Reba songs since yesterday) Listening to most of her singles in a row, I’ve heard a lot of good music recently, What stuck out to me was the number of story songs, from “Fancy” to “Somebody”, there are so many!

So for tonight, here’s the topic:

What is your favorite story song? Why?

Now, it can be as recent as “Already Gone” by Sugarland, or something like “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia” by Reba, it doesn’t matter. Just include why you love the story so much.

So to start, I have so many, but I’ll try to dig out something interesting from my iTunes library…

Nickel Creek

Nickel Creek


Here we go! “The Lighthouse’s Tale” by Nickel Creek. If you don’t know them, they were a New-grass trio who are on an indefinite hiatus after making 3 albums, winning one Grammy, and being nominated for a few more. They are all acoustic, except for the material from their last studio album, Why Should The Fire Die? The band consists of Chris Thile, the amazing mandolin player, Sara Watkins, the fiddle player, and her brother Sean Watkins, the guitar player. Chris and Sara are almost always the lead vocalists, but the trio also harmonizes frequently. (They also trade instruments sometimes, but anyways…)

This song is from their first major album, Nickel Creek, released in 2000.

The song is a traditional 3 act story song, but it’s from the point of view of a lighthouse! Yes a lighthouse, I know, sounds crazy, right? Well it works, and comes off as a haunting and tragic love song. (Yes I said love song, just keep reading.) The song starts with the lighthouse introducing himself:

“I’ll tell a story, paint you a picture from my past
I was so happy but joy in this life seldom lasts.”

The narrator describes his keeper,and his fiancé. Needless to say, I don’t want to spoil the story, but it doesn’t end happily.

This story song is clever, while recounting a classic story, but it sounds fresh, and is entertaining. Maybe it’s Chris Thile’s normally amazing violin? His expressive lead vocals? The lyrics? Who knows, but it’s great.

Here are my honorable mentions, I love all of these story songs:
“Where’ve You Been” by Kathy Mattea
“Devil On The Left” by Jamie O’Neal
“She Didn’t Have Time” by Terri Clark

Listen to “The Lighthouse’s Tale” on Last FM.
Watch the music video.

16 responses to “Storytime!

  1. Andrew December 26, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    I’m a big Chris LeDoux fan, and IMO he’s one of the greatest story tellers in the history of music. He’s got a long list of good one’s but I’d say my two favorites are “Silence on the Line” and “The Borderline”.

    Of course, for older story songs, Marty Robbins set the gold standard with “El Paso”.

  2. CF December 27, 2008 at 12:12 am

    “The Lighthouse’s Tale” is a good song. That mandolin adds a lot to the feeling of the lyrics.

    I can’t think of my favorite story song… hmm. I may have to post again later lol.

  3. Rainbow December 27, 2008 at 9:51 am

    Trisha’s “Melancholy Blue” is one of my very favorites.

  4. J.R. Journey December 27, 2008 at 10:49 am

    If we’re talking Chris LeDoux, let us not forget ‘This Cowboy’s Hat’ – man, I love that song.

    And for Trisha Yearwood, ‘Walkaway Joe’ is a great story song.

  5. J.R. Journey December 27, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    Kenny Rogers recorded some great story songs as well – so did Tom T. Hall.

    But my favorites from Kenny are ‘Coward of the County’ and ‘Lucille’. Both of them tell dark tales behind a melody you want to sing along too.

  6. Kevin J. Coyne December 27, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    I love “Coward of the County” too, though I must confess that the last remaining shred of my innocence was lost when I realized just exactly what those boys were doing when they took turns with Becky.

    I think my favorite story song is “Jacob’s Dream” by Alison Krauss.

  7. CF December 28, 2008 at 2:01 am

    Ah-ha. Kevin’s got it…. “Jacob’s Dream”. That’s my pick too.

  8. Leeann Ward December 28, 2008 at 8:46 am

    In college, I had to be the one to reveal what happened in “Coward of the County” to a friend of mine who is very smart but just had never paid close attention to the words before. She loved the song for its melody and chorus I think. She was a little shocked and she’s no prude. n

  9. J.R. Journey December 28, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    I know just how you feel, Kevin. The last shreds of my innocence (lots of it was lost early anyway) was lost when I learned just what her Mama meant when she told Fancy to ‘just be nice to the gentlemen and they’ll be nice to you’. I guess the narrator’s innocence was equally lost when she ‘knew exactly what her Mama’d been talkin’ about’.

    Country music is education as well as therapy …

  10. Spencer December 29, 2008 at 3:19 am

    “I Feel Lucky” by Mary Chapin Carpenter puts a smile on my face whenever I hear it. Reminds of a blues song except everything that happens in the song turns out to be a good thing.

  11. Jordan Stacey December 29, 2008 at 11:52 am

    I’d have to say Kenny Roger’s “Lucille” it’s really the only song I’ve ever liked from him and it’s not hard to hear why. It’s just a great song.

  12. sheldon December 30, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    Dolly’s Mountain Angel and Down from Dover

  13. Rainbow December 30, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    Sheldon, I love you for mentioning those.

  14. Chris D. December 31, 2008 at 12:36 am

    Wow, I forgot Lee Ann Womack’s “The Bees”! I love that song so much…

  15. Billy December 31, 2008 at 10:17 am

    I’d definitely have to say Fancy by Reba McEntire. Once I finally figured the whole thing out, it’s become one of my favourite songs.

  16. Caroline January 5, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    I got 50 Greatest Hits for Christmas as well. (I became a Reba fan a few months ago so this seemed the logical gift from my family.) I confess, probably 95% of the country music I know are Reba’s songs, so you won’t be surprised who I’ll be mentioning here. I love the fact that Reba sings so many story songs. Not everyone can pull them off as well as she does! “Fancy” has to be my favorite story song. But I have to say that “And Still” *kills* me every time I listen to it. Before I ever saw the video, I could see it in my head as I listened to Reba sing it. LOVE IT!

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