A lot of people don’t realize this, but I am the Music Director of 99.5 WYCD, which means I assist Big Boss Tim in programming the music you love so much on this radio station. It’s a cool gig because I get to hear new songs before the rest of the world, and pick out the songs we play on the radio. Now and then we get treated to what is called a cross-over record, and I love those moments, because it gives us the chance to not only expand the horizons of the definition of country music, but it also allows us to play a broader variety on the radio. You can hear an even more extreme example of what I am talking about on our sister station, 99.5 WYCD HD-2, The Wolf, which I hope you’ll tune into sometime.
The other day, Tim called me into his office to play me a song called “Bruises”, but didn’t tell me the name of the artists singing it. I immediately recognized the male vocalist as Pat Monahan, the lead singer of the rock band Train, but didn’t pinpoint the singer, whom I mistook for Miranda Lambert. Her name is actually Ashley Monroe, who sings in Miranda’s side project Pistol Annies. The song (a bonus track on Train’s California 37 album) tells the story of two old friends who went their separate ways since high school and catching up about the hard times and bruises they’ve encountered along the way. The song was so good, it gave me chills and I went in my office and listened to it again like four more times, then four more on the ride home from work that night.
I’ve been out of high school almost twenty years, myself, and via Facebook, I’ve rekindled some old friendships from my past. It’s interesting and tragic at times to learn about our classmates and see where they’ve ended up in life. Some people surprise me, others don’t shock me. The prom queen who’s not even a princess anymore, the quarterback who now sells cigarettes at 7 Eleven, the nerdy girl who looks like Christina Hendricks now, and the quiet boy from math class who is now living his life as a woman. We all have stories and bruises, and this song, by a rock band, is a great example of how not all great country music comes straight out of Nashville. Country music is about realism, and this song is as real as it gets, especially as more and more of us have reconnected with our pasts through Facebook and other means and all find ourselves needing to find out whatever became of so and so.
The performance below of this song is from the Late Show with David Letterman back in the summer, and features a different female vocalist, but it gives you an idea of the tune, which you’ll be hearing soon on 99.5 WYCD and hopefully other stations across the country as well.