I’ll admit right up front this struck a deeply personal chord with me, and maybe I can’t separate that to fairly judge this, but in the spirit of Leon of Country Music Minds, music is all subjective, and this is just my opinion. And when I went out to find the new Chris Stapleton song today to review it, I found this instead, and listening to the song I had a connection with it that is so unique to music and so rare nowadays in the mainstream. It just made me want to share this.
So, with that said, what makes “Church Clothes” special? Well, it’s a story of a troubled relationship, told from the point of view of the woman as the couple get ready for and attend church. every detail is mentioned, from the curl in her hair to the way he shakes the keys to the five they slip in the Bible for the offering. everything they do is rehearsed and perfect, and the lyrics paint a great picture. But even though they hold hands “like we’re supposed to,” their church friends don’t know there’s trouble in their marriage. They never speak, and ultimately there is nothing left between them, but they worry about what people would say if they give up. It’s a great picture of hiding ourselves from the public and especially from the church. People assume that all those around them in the pews on Sunday are living a perfect life, but this story and others like it are more common than we might think, and this song illustrates that truth beautifully.
As far as the production, there is some really nice steel guitar here, but ultimately this would be pop country. Some may not like this, but I think this is a case of pop country being done right. This would have been a radio hit ten years ago. Credit to Kelleigh Bannen for releasing a great song with substance, even if it is modern-sounding. I haven’t been a huge fan of Bannen’s music in the past, but this really has me excited for a future album from her.
Written by: Liz Rose, Nicolle Galyon