Forgotten Hits: Sammy Kershaw, "Yard Sale"

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Sammy Kershaw

Written by Larry Bastian and Dewayne Blackwell

Great country songs can find heartache in the most mundane places.  For George Jones, it was “a lip print on a half-filled cup of coffee that you poured but didn’t drink.”  For Sammy Kershaw, a nineties star heavily influenced by the Possum, it was a family picnic table of discounted items.

“They’re sorting through what’s left of you and me,” he sings, and like in the Jones classic “A Good Year For the Roses,” it’s the steady observation of sights and sounds that tell the story.  As he notes that there must be half the town on the grass and on the sidewalk, he muses, “Ain’t it funny how a broken home can bring the prices down?”

It’s casually revealed that his departed love didn’t even bother to finish the laundry, as one customer picks up “two summer dresses in the backyard on the line.”  And with one more quick sale revealed – “There goes the baby’s wind-up, and the mirror down the hall,” we learn that he’s been left behind by a full family, not just a wife.

It could be maudlin in lesser hands, but Kershaw’s understated delivery matches the restraint that he must be forcing upon himself. Can’t cry in front of your customers, but the pain is evident as he notes that his very reason for being is just a good bargain to everyone else around him “paying yard sale prices for each golden memory.”

This single wasn’t a huge radio hit, but it helped power his debut album to gold and eventually platinum.  There was simply too much good stuff in 1992 competing for those radio slots.  But it’s stood the test of time more than the other three hits from his debut album, all of which charted higher. It’s worth rediscovering,  or discovering for the first time if you missed it.


6 Comments on Forgotten Hits: Sammy Kershaw, "Yard Sale"

  1. I really like this song. Kershaw had a number of very good songs.

    I’m interested in the album that he’s promoting now. I hear that he and Jamey Johnson will be doing a cover of “Cover of the Rolling Stone”, which interests/amuses me.

  2. …1. great feature 2. terrific pick 3. seriously enjoyed the write-up 4. one of those great debut albums of the nineties. i remember when “cadillac style plus a time indication?” was a rather adult running gag around our place.

  3. This is a really good song. Reminds me of my childhood – can remember listening to this on the radio driving around with my parents when I was 11 years old.

    Sammy Kershaw actually has a lot of hits I’d label as “Forgotten”. He gets little recurrent airplay for any of his songs outside of “She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful”. I really love “Matches” and that one didn’t even crack the Top 20.

  4. Good point. I’d love to see a Sammy Kershaw starter kit or six pack. Maybe one for Tracy Lawrence too?

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