We’re in the dead of winter, and the hand-chapping winds outside have invited themselves inside through every crack and seam in this old house. Nothing fights back the chill and warms a room like a good story, so I’m sharing six of my favorite story songs. My gifts to you to warm your toes and mind this chilly Friday!
1) The Temptation of Adam: Every time I hear this song I chuckle out loud. Who thinks up a story of a romance that develops between two people assigned to guard a nuclear missile silo? Josh Ritter does, and with brilliant lyrics. Only J.R. could make nuclear bomb lingo romantic.
2) Day By Day: This next one is a song about a story, or better stated, a song about a love for story. Andrew Peterson writes about “Peter Pan” and how many of us never want to grow up and out of the ability to enter stories.
3) Ulysses: Josh Garrels tells the story of Ulysses (Odysseus), the king of Ithaca. Ulysses led his army to great victory against Troy using the Trojan horse. Then, Ulysses and his men set sail for Ithaca, but after a few weeks they ran out of food. They run ashore and encounter a Cyclops. I won’t recap the entire story, but Ulysses faces Circe, the Sirens, and the six-headed Scylla before finally returning home to reclaim his throne. I’m a huge Josh Garrels fan, and this song will show you why.
4) Resplendent: Bill Mallonee will knock your wool socks off with this hauntingly beautiful, and painful, song about The Dust Bowl, one of the most horrific ecological disasters in US history.
5) The Boxer: Forgive me for choosing Mumford & Sons’ version instead of Simon & Garfunkel’s. This is out of character for me – I usually react to new musicians taking on iconic hits about the same way I react to a rock bouncing off the highway and cracking my windshield…with a lot of yelling and wild hand motions. Yet, I love this version of The Boxer. My family on my mother’s side moved to the United States during the Irish Potato Famine, and for some reason this song makes me think of my great, great, great grandfather.
6) The Curse: The last song is another Josh Ritter song, and, well, I’m sorry…but anyone who can write a love song about a mummy and an archaeologist that might just bring a tear to your eye deserves to show up twice on this post.
Up for one more story? Pick up a copy of Zeke’s book, Man on the Run!