Monday, December 7, 2020

Leftovers: Crowded Table (Looking Forward)


I guess this is sort of related to my “No Thanks” post about Old 97’s “Lonely Holiday,” but back in June, when I think that we were really coming to grips with the changes that the coronavirus was causing to our lives, our theme was “Looking Forward,” as in, things we were looking forward to in the After Times. I wrote about seeing live music, which I continue to miss terribly. 

But, as you know if you’ve read my “Lonely Holiday” piece, not to mention some of my other writings about family and friend-filled meals, I miss getting together with people to eat. Whether it is a holiday meal, or a backyard BBQ, or even if there’s no specific reason, I love to cook for a group, and I enjoy eating with a group. So, yeah, I miss having a crowded table. 

Now, the song, “Crowded Table,” by The Highwomen, seems to me about more of a big nuclear family, but the message still fits. 

I want a house with a crowded table
And a place by the fire for everyone
Let us take on the world while we're young and able
And bring us back together when the day is done 

And, to add to the inclusivity message: 

The door is always open
Your picture's on my wall
Everyone's a little broken
And everyone belongs
Yeah, everyone belongs 

If you don’t already know, The Highwomen are an all-female country/Americana “supergroup” created officially in 2019 by Amanda Shires, Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, and Natalie Hemby, all of whom have varying levels of fame in the business. The idea was to pay homage to The Highwaymen, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson. So, they didn’t want to put much pressure on themselves, right? Their first live appearance was at a show celebrating Loretta Lynn’s 87th birthday at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville (go big, or go home, I guess). 

The project was designed to include other musicians, so that their first single, “Redesigning Women,” had a video that included, among others, Tanya Tucker and Wynonna Judd, and their self-titled debut album featured a re-write of Jimmy Webb’s “Highwaymen,” other co-writes with, among others Jason Isbell (Shires' husband), Miranda Lambert, and Ray LaMontagne, and appearances by Yola, Sheryl Crow, Isbell, and members of Carlisle’s and Shires’ bands.

“Crowded Table,” was written by Hemby, Carlile and Lori McKenna, and features vocals that weave in and out of unison and harmony. Rolling Stone considered the song to be the Highwomen’s mission statement noting that it is "looking for a world where everyone is given a chance to fit in. This isn’t about leaning in or fighting for the top chair. It’s about making room." 

Which is a good message, both as I look forward to someday sitting at a crowded table for a big meal, but also as we look forward to the post-Trump world.