The old saying in Nashville is "it all begins with a song", which from what I take from it, means that one song has the power to do a lot. We have certain songs that make us laugh or cry, songs that make us think of a lost loved one, songs that describe our feelings when we can't find the words. It's amazing what one simple musical piece can do.
In 1995, Neal McCoy released "They're Playing Our Song" in which he tells his significant other to stop whatever she's doing and dance with him because this certain song that defines their love is playing on the radio. This is common for the everyday couple, whether married or not because they have that one song that sums up their relationship. For my brother and his wife, it's Keith Urban's "Making Memories Of Us", which I had the pleasure of singing at their wedding; for me and my junior high girlfriend Rachel, it was George Strait's "Check Yes Or No", that song had such a significance between us that one night, I wrote a love letter to give to her at school the next day and when I was done, I turned the letter over and wrote the song's lyric's on the back. Rachel and I parted as friends but when I hear that song, I still think of her.
Aside from being romantic, a song has the power to form a bond between family members. As I write this, I think once again of Mr. Strait and "The Cowboy Rides Away" because it makes me think of my mother. Whenever she comes to listen to my music, she always asks for it so this has become "our song." When I hear "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables, I can't help but think of my nephew Stetson because after all (and to borrow a line from it), "he's like the son I might have known if God had granted me a son."
As a musician, one thing I see just about every time I play is how one song can make a person's day because someone will come up to me and ask me to play such-and-such song and when I do, I immediately see them begin to perk up. Go to any concert, no matter where it is and you can see this when the crowd goes wild after the artist has uttered no more than the first few syllables of one of their hits, that means the crowd's day has been made by simply hearing this one song. In an interview, Garth Brooks was once asked how he knows if he's reaching the people and he said he can look out into the audience and see each person's individual light come on and that's when he knows he has done "their song."
Probably the most powerful thing about a song is the memories it brings, in Trisha Yearwood's 1993 hit "The Song Remembers When", she talks about two places she goes where she just happens to be near a radio and this certain song begins to play, as she hears the familiar music, she begins to think of her past and it brings her joy. I saw an example of this last Saturday at the James Howard Legacy Concert in the Stephenville City Park, I was a part of this musical extravaganza and one of the songs I played was the worship anthem "Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble?", which is the song that got me into Christian music when I was in high school; up until that point, my only exposure to this style of music was the old hymns but when I first heard the "Mountains" song, it inspired me to want to learn Christian music because it was like nothing I'd ever heard before.
Speaking of high school, I was the kid that drove everyone crazy by walking around singing every song I heard on the radio and it got to the point where my history teacher, Coach Kent finally had to say "Turnbeaugh, this is not choir." I also related well to my gym teacher, Coach Wilson, who was also a musician and no matter what anyone had to say, he would respond back by singing the line of a song and we would always ask him "is there a song for everything?" Not long after he left, I picked up the habit and got asked the same question, the answer is yes because no matter what you're thinking or feeling, there's a song that describes it and that's a powerful thing. Never underestimate the power of a song.
Tim Turnbeaugh is a musician who was born and reared in Eastland County, but currently resides in Stephenville. Tim can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org