A God for the Daughters

Little Big Town: (l to r) Karen Fairchild, Phillip Sweet, Jimi Westbrook, & Kimberly Schlapman.

The last few weeks have been astonishing: Minnesota in the news for all the wrong reasons (but change may be coming); the covid19 thing ongoing; our strange politics ever stranger; we’re all going a little nuts. On the other hand, summer is here, so at least the weather has been cool and lovely (though there have been some hot and steamy evenings).

This past week or so, I’ve been mostly basking in my tree trying to figure it all out. Luckily, I’ve had some good music helping me along, and today I thought I’d share (once again) my love for the band Little Big Town.

It was eight years ago that I wrote about how I stumbled over them; they have been favorites of mine ever since.

As I wrote back then, Little Big Town is a country rock band strongly reminiscent of, and deliberately patterned after, one of their favorite bands, Fleetwood Mac.

What Little Big Town stirs into that founding influence is sweet and silky smooth four-part harmony along with country music’s penchant for clever lyrics and narrative. (The canonical, “She got the gold mine; I got the shaft.”)

[Legend has it that when they formed a band that would center on four-part harmony, they had a choice between an Abba path and a Mac path. (I can imagine that, as vocalists, they liked both bands.) They decided they didn’t care for matching outfits.]

The band has become hugely popular, with numerous nominations, awards, appearances, and tours. They have a YouTube channel (of course) where you can see a lot of their work and get to know them (if you don’t already).

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Last month, I bought their two latest albums, The Breaker and Nightfall, and the last few days I’ve been enjoying them during my morning walks.

Musically, I like the former a little better, although that might change after repeated listening. There are many albums that require getting to know them to really appreciate the skill and artistry.

But as it stands now, Nightfall is a bit more serious and dark, while The Breaker is a fun trip to a sunny California beach. (One of the cuts is, in fact, “We Went to the Beach,” and it’s a toe-tapping hoot.)

Not that The Breaker is all sunny delight, but the first cut is “Happy People” (which contrasts with the later more poignant cut, “Better Man,” written by Taylor Swift).

That said, Nightfall has some tunes I like a lot, and one I especially taken with: “The Daughters” — an anthem for women:

Oh girl, wash your face before you come to the table
Girl, know your place, be willing and able
Take it on the chin, let the best man win
Girl, shoulders back and stand up straight
Girl, watch your mouth and watch your weight
Mind your manners, smile for the camera

And pose like a trophy on a shelf
Dream for everyone, but not yourself
I’ve heard of God the Son and God the Father
I’m still looking for a God for the daughters

Girl, don’t be weak but don’t be strong
Say what you want, just as long
As you nod your head with your lipstick on

And pose like a trophy on a shelf
Dream for everyone, but not yourself
I’ve heard of God the Son and God the Father
I’m just looking for a God for the daughters

I wash the dishes, feed the kids, and clean up all this mess
Do my best, forgive myself, and look good in this dress
Damn, I look good in this dress

And pose like a trophy on a shelf
I’ll dream for everyone, but not myself
I’ve heard of God the Son and God the Father
And damn, I love my son, I love my father
I’m just looking for a God for the daughters
I’m just looking for a God for the daughters

For the daughters
I’m just looking for a God
For the daughters, for the daughters

The tune just takes me apart every time I hear it. We have so much to fix in this world, so much to make right.

The message here is oriented at the country music industry. It feels like Little Big Town’s contribution to the mission The Highwomen have embarked upon. (See my post The Highwomen for a cool Fleetwood Mac connection!)

That said, the message is universal, for us all.

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So if you’re looking for some good new music, and you like either rock or country (or both), and you’ve never heard this group, I highly recommend them.

You’ll find their discography on their Wiki page or their official website. There is also their YouTube channel (and, I’m sure, all the other social media of your choice).

For a change of pace, I’ll leave you with this delight tune of theirs:

(See here if you need a perfect margarita mix to go with it.)

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If you don’t care for margaritas, just toss a banana in a blender with some ice and rum to enjoy a fresh banana daiquiri. Definitely a summer drink.

Have an enjoyable musical Sunday afternoon where ever you are. We have much work ahead of us before we can call ourselves truly civilized, truly intelligent, but all work and no play works for no one.

The occasional break, even a bit of wildness (like with drinks on a pontoon boat), does us all good.

Stay a little bit country, my friends!

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

12 responses to “A God for the Daughters

  • Christina Schmidt, MA

    Looks like a promising recommendation. Any sound claiming to be Fleetwood Mac inspired is surely worthy of a listen.

    “I wash the dishes, feed the kids, and clean up all this mess /
    Do my best, forgive myself, and look good in this dress” Yes. Simply.

    I hear you on that weather change, particularly humidity. Down right saturating some nights here in the south.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Ah, a virgin! If you do check them out, I’ll be interested in your reaction coming to them new. Some of their older stuff, especially, sounds a lot like the Mac. (There is a tune linked in the older post that I’ve always loved. Shows their more country love-song side.)

      Ha, you caught one of my favorite lines! It sums up the tension of being pulled by conflicting desires in two pithy lines. The work to sustain oneself versus the call, good or bad, to present oneself a certain way. Everyone feels it, but for women in this culture, speaking from the sidelines, it looks like it can be brutal.

      (Message of the song aside, I love the line that follows those. “Damn, I look good in this dress.” There can be pride in presentation, in all the hard work, too!)

      Yes! I know the image most have of Texas, of cow skulls and cacti and empty desert, but I’ve heard West Texas can get pretty wet.

      • Christina Schmidt, MA

        Can’t speak to West but here in Central? Oh my, yes. You know what’s funny? The only cow skulls I’ve seen were on trips to Arizona. Skulls used as everything from garden deco to mailboxes (seriously) as well as art installs. Go figure. I have a collection of gnomes 🤷 so who am I to judge.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Ah, yes, Texas is too big to divide in just two, my bad. Has to work vertically, also, right? Austin is in central middle Texas — the heart of Texas! I’ve heard it’s a college town, pretty forward-thinking, good music. Few times I’ve visited, I was up in DFW. (When I moved back in 1984, I passed through Amarillo on my way to Oklahoma City when I drove from Los Angeles to Minnesota.)

        Arizona is an interesting state. Not a great political view (says who? says me) but Grand Canyon is one of those sights that sucks the words right outta yer brain and leaves you with your jaw hanging open. Just the sight of it. Then you start thinking about how old it is, how long it took the river to etch that magnificence, and your head just kinda explodes. It’s one of my favorite places on Earth. (Although Waimea Canyon on Kauai gives it a real run for the money. Awesome canyon with a rain forest!)

        Arizona is also the only place I’ve ever had rattlesnake. Which does taste exactly like chicken. (For good reason: birds are basically what the dinosaurs turned into.) Was served as rattlesnake mcnuggets in sections of steamed clean snake rib cage. One of those snapshot memories for the permanent memory album.

        I think as long as one doesn’t have an army of squirrels one personally stuffed, one’s collection of whatever odds or ends cannot be judged!

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Wait… “west”… wow, I meant east, although I take your point about central. Recent events clearly have my head turned around!

  • Wyrd Smythe

    Was listening to The Breaker again on my morning walk. This time I paid a lot of attention to the Yin-Yang structure of the album.

    The Yang, the first six cuts, are a joyful party. That part the album is road songs, especially “Drivin’ Around” (that so powerfully channels Fleetwood Mac) and the following tune “We Went to the Beach” (which reeks of country twang).

    Then it hits the Taylor Swift song, “Better Man” and the album pivots to a darker Yin. The last six songs really are like the flip side of the album, very much a tone change, both musically and lyrically. It’s not all mellow and sad, but it’s very, very country.

    No more so than “Don’t Die Young. Don’t Get Old” which presents another (very country) Yin-Yang. There is also the achingly sweet “When Someone Stops Loving You” — a song about loss, the other side of the love coin. (I found myself thinking about the first side. Yeah, losing love hurts, but ‘when someone starts loving you’ is worth that hurt, worth that price. The old saying remains as true now as ever: Far better to love and lose than to never love at all.)

    What’s interesting is how, tonally, the second side of The Breaker kind of segues directly into their following album, Nightfall. I’ll study that one more carefully on tomorrow’s walk.

  • Christina Schmidt, MA

    *raises hand* Uh, excuse me professor? Like, when does your brain, like, sleep?

    *instantly receives lecture on how the brain never sleeps but remains quite active even during rest* Okay professor, I was just, like, joking, but is there, like, any chance here for extra credit?

    *instantly launches into new lecture about the futility of extra credit as it undermines the directives of the course material*

    ~Don’t mind me, just poking a Leo.~

    • Wyrd Smythe

      The problem is yer not just pokin’ a Leo, yer pokin’ a pedant. No good can come of that. It always ends in pontification.

      I’m like the dolphins: half my brain snoozes at a time. I’m actually half asleep all the time!

      [By dolphins, I mean the mammal, not the fish. I just about had a heart attack the first time I saw “dolphin” on a restaurant menu. WTF?]

      Extra credit, properly structured and overseen, really should amplify and enhance the course directives. At the least, extra credit work has the “A for effort” thing going for it.

      (If the brain buzz here is too loud, you should probably be wary walking through the next post… (But I think you might like the Summer Solstice one I’m working on.))

  • Wyrd Smythe

    Well, “tomorrow” turned out to take a few days; I haven’t really been in the mood for a morning walk this week, but finally forced myself out the door. (Got my first mosquito bite of the season. 😦 )

    Nightfall is such a different album from The Breaker. The musicality and production values (of both) are outstanding (but Nightfall seems especially complex musically); this group is at the top of their game.

    Nightfall is much more country (not such a strong Fleetwood Mac feel to this one) musically and lyrically. With the exception of “The Daughters” (which really stands out as a message song), most of the album is devoted to love, the pain of love, and the loss of love.

    It starts with “Next to You” (Babe, I don’t wanna talk right now. Stop, I need a little space. Ohh, ohh.) Then the title cut, “Nightfall” (Turn the lights down, we can watch the stars crawl. You and I fall, baby, when the night falls.)

    The cut after that, “Forever and a Night” repeats the themes (And I’ll make it alright. It might take some time. Give me forever and a night.)

    Then the narrative takes a sad turn with “Throw Your Love Away” (I can set our bed on fire, but your memory is fireproof. So what’s the use. I can’t throw your love away, and I can’t give it back to you.). Things get worse in the next cut, “Over Drinking” (I’m drunk ’cause I’m happy, not drunk ’cause you’re gone. I’m over drinking over you.).

    Certainly drinking is very country — the concept of crying in one’s beer is almost canonically country. That theme continues with the next cut “Wine, Beer, Whiskey” (The wine, the beer, the whiskey. Are the only things that fix me).

    The theme of loss continues in “Questions” (Did you give her my old key, Am I anywhere in your memory. I can’t sleep it’s keeping me up tonight. I got questions). Ouch. Who hasn’t been there, any hands up? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

    “The Daughters” provides relief from the love aches, but the next cut, “River of Stars” is about unrequited love (I called you but you never came. It’s only time that drifts away. My love remains. […] I’d paint a river of stars for you. Cross the ocean of sapphire blue.).

    Then “Sugar Coat” — a song about broken dreams — hits you right between the eyes (Another car drives by. I wonder where you are. The kids are all in bed. And everything but you is in its place).

    “Problem Child” speaks to us loner black sheep types (Are you the black sheep? Have you been lonely. Out on the outside? You’re not the only one.). “Bluebird” is another love song, but one more about potential (And if the highway gets too dark. Call my name let it catch a spark. I’ll be there for you. Call me honey. I’ll come running).

    The album closes with the devastating “Trouble With Forever” — another song about loss (Three hundred people heard her say I do. But there was no one there when he said we’re through. […] We love how forever begins. But the trouble with forever is it always ends. Ohh.).

    Ohh, indeed. Kind of a hard album to really listen to (but beautiful musically), I very much prefer the sunlight and optimism in The Breaker. Crying over a love song is cathartic, but I’d rather dance! :/

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