Monday, May 13, 2024

Two Songs about Going Back Home


But With Polar Opposite Meanings

While listening to a Spotify 60s Country playlist last week — an undertaking that I can recommend without reservation — the theme of going back home surfaced in two different songs, with two completely different takes on that idea.

“Homecoming” by Tom T. Hall tells the tale of his own distant relationship with his widower father.

I’ve been gone so many years
I didn’t realize you had a phone

He pops in unannounced, has to explain what his musician life is like to a father who does not understand it at all, apologizes for missing his mother’s funeral, and then has to leave for a gig later that night. 

The whole experience is short, awkward, and unsatisfying. It’s clear that he cannnot wait to get out of there.

Contrast that with “Back Home Again” in which John Denver writes a more romanticized version of the ways one might enjoy coming back home.

There’s a fire softly burning
Supper’s on the stove
It’s the light in your eyes
that makes him warm.