Joe Henry – ‘Our Song’ (Maybe I’ll feel more positive after election season)

Just found a beautiful song that really captures the way I feel about this country. The wars, the economy, watching the rich get richer as they outsource all our jobs and sneer at us as they put us out on the sidewalks, ridiculous electioneering politicians, no leadership to be found, but demagogues aplenty… Yet I want to be proud of this place. Maybe we started out as a bunch of slaveholders, we did a lot of great things. Created space for freedom and big ideas for a while. I try to stay proud and patriotic, but it feels kind of hollow. Despite it all though, there are still a lot of good people here doing the best they can. When I get bummed out about the country, I think about that.

Joe Henry captures that feeling so well in this song, I get weepy listening to it:

I saw Willie Mays
At a Scotsdale Home Depot
Looking at Garage Door Springs
At the the far end of the 14th row
His wife stood there beside him
She was quiet and they both were proud
I gave them room but was close enough
That I heard him when he said out loud
This was my country
And this was my song
Somewhere in the middle there
Though it started badly and it's ending wrong
This was my country
This frightful and this angry land
But it's my right if the worst of it might still
Somehow make me a better man
The sun is unforgiving
And there's nobody who would choose this town
But we've squandered so much of our goodwill
That there's nowhere else will have us now
We're pushing line at the picture show
For cool air and a chance to see
A vision of ourselves portrayed
As younger and braver and humble and free<
This was our country
This was our song
Somewhere in the middle there
Though it started badly and it's ending wrong
This was our country
This frightful and this angry land
But it's my right if the worst of it might still
Somehow make me a better man
I've started something I can't finish
And I barely leave the house, it's true
I keep a wrap on my sores and joints
But yes, I've had my blessings too<
I've got my mother's pretty feet
And the factory keeps my house in shape
My children, they've both been paroled<
And we get by on the piece we've made
I feel safe, so far from heaven
From towers and their ocean views
From here I see a future coming across
What soon will be beaches too
But that was him, I'm almost sure
The greatest centerfielder of all time
Stooped by the burden of endless dreams
His and yours and mine
He hooked each spring beneath his foot
He leaned over then he stood upright
Testing each against his weight
For one that had some play and some fight
He's just like us, I wanna tell him
And our needs are small enough
Something to slow a heavy door
Something to help us raise one up
And this was my country
This was my song
Somewhere in the middle there
Though it started badly and it's ending wrong
Well, this was God's country
This frightful and this angry land
But if it's his will, the worst of it might still
Somehow make me a better man
If it's his will, the worst of it might still
Somehow make me a better man
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2 Comments

Filed under commentary, folk, Uncategorized, video

2 responses to “Joe Henry – ‘Our Song’ (Maybe I’ll feel more positive after election season)

  1. Mattl

    so,
    this was the song 2007. And still it is my favourite bridge (from northern bavarian) to your great country – as long as there are “Civilians” like Henry.
    Mit herzlichen Grüßen,
    Mattl

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