We’re halfway through February! Time sure does fly by fast, doesn’t it? I’m still in the throes of unpacking, but definitely making great progress, as the stacks’o’boxes are diminishing (at least on the main floor) which makes me happy – and reduces the hazard maneuvering from room to room…heh!
Meanwhile, it’s Monday, which means it’s time for some music! This week I was given the honor to choose the theme, so since we’ve recently moved to a small town that began as a Northern Pacific Railroad construction camp called Wheeler’s Camp in c. 1871, I chose a theme of ‘Trains or Railroads’ – songs about trains or railroads or with it in the title, or whatever creative mode you come up with. Sounds fun, right?
Where would the entertainment world be without trains? If you give it some thought, trains are much more than a means of transportation; they have been a big impact on pop culture in a variety of ways! From the main character of books like The Little Engine That Could, and Thomas the Tank Engine, to the setting of movies such as From Russia with Love and Planes, Trains and Automobiles, trains have played a major role in popular story-lines over the years. The use of trains in pop culture extends beyond the book and movie industries though. Singers have belted out numerous songs about trains as well.
Let’s start off with this artist’s first hit, a song he debuted at the Grand Ole Opry in 2001, and released it as a single from his debut album two years later. It reached #13 on the Billboard Country charts and achieved gold status.
When asked what his inspiration for the song was, the artist said he had envisioned a long, black train that was running down a track with people standing around watching it. It occurred to him that the train was a metaphor for temptation, with the engineer symbolizing Satan, and the train and whistle representing how we are always tempted to do evil, but we must resist. At the time, he was trying to discover who he was as an individual; he believes it’s a song God delivered to him.
Give a listen to Josh Turner with “Long Black Train”:
Next up, tracked during a 2,728-mile railroad trip from Chicago to Los Angeles, these two folk singers teamed up for an album of acoustic, harmony-heavy duets. The railway looms large throughout the project, pulling triple duty as the singers’ muse, transportation and makeshift recording studio.
The video shows the two musicians recording their album’s first single on a train depot balcony in St. Louis. Footage from the rest of the pair’s cross-country journey fills the video, too, showing the two recording their album’s songs in hotel rooms, train cars, loading docks and lobbies. The entire process took four days, with the album’s final track recorded outside Los Angeles’ Union Station at dawn, with birds chirping in the background.
Without further ado, here’s Billy Bragg and Joe Henry with “Midnight Special”:
Next up is a song that has been a favorite since I first hear it back in 2010. This song was actually my introduction to this particular artist, and he’s been a favorite pop artist since.
It’s the lead single from this Hawaiian born artist’s debut album, and his first chart entry under his own name.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, I give you Bruno Mars with “Just The Way You Are”:
Last, but certainly not least, is a song that caught my ear when I was watching the final episode of season 2 of the comedy, “Schitt’s Creek”. The artist wrote this song, inspired by his long-term girlfriend. He was quoted in 2008 as saying:
“I was in LA and had met a few idiot women. I just thought, ‘You might be good looking but you are nothing on my girlfriend.’ She has got everything that is good about a person. Yes I would flirt a bit but that was it. I just felt that this whole time I have someone who is amazing. We’ve been together seven years and I couldn’t wait to get home.”
Give a listen to James Morrison with “Precious Love”:
That’s a wrap for this week – have a great Monday – and have a Happy Valentine’s Day!
Want to join in the fun? It’s easy – just find a tune that rocks your boat, post it and link up – don’t forget to grab Xmas Dolly…er, um, I mean her button…over at her place here. Check out Xmas Dolly’s sidebar for the random themes we sport each week – and you can always ask for a specific theme of music you like, too. Check out the other music lovahs and let’s jam!