Hang Me In The Tulsa County Stars

This is a beautiful tune by singer-songwriter John Moreland. The first version I heard was his SXSW performance and I was immediately captivated by the elegant simplicity of Moreland’s guitar work and songwriting.

The stanza that really speaks to me is the second chorus: “Babe, I know this world will have the wolves outside your door / Make you leave all that you love to fight a war / And never tell you what you’re dying for”.

Like all great folk songs, the words ring true on several levels, and I imagine most folks could sing this one honestly, which of course is my measure of a tune— I figure if you want to sing something properly, you gotta really mean it, you gotta have walked in those shoes, so to speak. And I think most of us can connect with the sense of exile and the desire for acceptance that this song embodies.

It also leaves you with more questions than answers— it leaves me wondering who the speaker is. I imagine it’s a veteran returned from Afghanistan or Iraq. He’s just returned from the war and he’s speaking to his high school sweetheart, reaching out for human connection, seeking a sense of self and place and peace in a world that often denies us those things.

I’ve heard it said that you’ll never be lonely as long as you have a song in your heart, and for me this is a song that I turn to for comfort, solace, and a respite from the loneliness of the road.

Read the lyrics here.