July 6, 2012
A musical pairing that combines two of the most beautifully understated, comforting voices in country music. How could it not be good? Happily, songwriters John Ramey, Bobby Taylor, and Doug Gill turn out a fine piece of hillbilly poetry worthy of both talents.
“I Just Come Here For the Music,” from Williams excellent new album And So It Goes, is laced with simple, easily envisioned details that practically place the listener right in the midst of that smoky barroom as the scene plays out before the eyes. Williams narrates the story of a man who has recently seen a longtime relationship come to an end, and is tentatively beginning to feel out new romantic prospects. It’s a character that he inhabits with authority as well as the same quiet sincerity that has long characterized his musical persona.
The woman in the story is no less vividly drawn. She “doesn’t mean to be so cold” in receiving such attention, but like the protagonist in Pam Tillis’ “In Between Dances,” she is clearly recovering from a heartbreak of her own, and is not yet prepared to take a step that could potentially lead to further hurt. Upon the woman’s being asked to dance, the line “Lord knows her body’s willing, but her heart can’t take that chance” is as fine and concise a description of such a pivotal emotional point as I’ve ever heard in a country lyric.
Though the second chorus finds the woman beginning to gradually lower her guard, the story ends on an unresolved note. Do the two ever get together? We are left the guess the outcome. Ultimately, the story doesn’t need to be given a fully resolved happy ending. Its true value is in its presentation of a simple yet colorful snapshot of the point at which its two characters begin taking the first steps in their healing journey – an experience which many a listener can relate to.
How refreshing it is to hear a record characterized by such pure, elegant simplicity. There are no cheesy pick-up lines, no gimmicks, and no condescending cliché stereotypes – just naked honesty and sincerity, making “I Just Come Here For the Music” a beautiful example of country storytelling at its finest.
Written by John Ramey, Bobby Taylor, and Doug Gill
Listen: I Just Came Here For the Music