On her fantastic debut album, 2013’s 12 Stories, country singer/songwriter Brandy Clark presented exactly that… 12 stories of women just trying to move through the world as best they can. Topics like poverty, infidelity, prescription drug abuse, divorce, alcoholism, and just all-around tough lives mark the starting point for Clark’s songs, but not necessarily the finish line. This is real life in small-town America that she’s singing about, not some gussied up, fictionalized Pleasantville version of it.
But, while Clark doesn’t shy away from the shadows, she doesn’t always linger there, either. Some of her heroines find the light, as in the new video for “Get High”. In this song, a woman’s (portrayed by Clark’s bestie, songwriter Jessie Jo Dillon) family life is just a little too much on some days and not nearly enough on others. To get through the rough patches, she “sits down at the kitchen table and rolls herself a fat one”.
Clark has noted that she penned the tune with a friend of hers from high school in mind. But, as she has traveled around the country performing it, fans have come up to her and said, “You know that song you wrote about the girl you went to high school with? I know that girl.” Sometimes that girl is their sister, neighbor, or friend. And, sometimes, that girl is themselves. Maybe that’s why more than 55 percent of the country now favors marijuana legalization.
The beauty of the song — and the video, for that matter — lies in the simplicity of both the concept and the execution. However, don’t confuse simple with pedestrian or trite. The heartfelt authenticity of Clark’s musical portraits and her attention to the details of her craft are on full display here, start to finish. There are no false notes to be found, literally or otherwise. That sly grin on her face and in her voice is one of knowing, not of mocking.
// Notes from the Road
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