Every now and then somebody really talented puts together the words and the story I wanted to tell and does it in the way I wished I could have. Today thanks to Dr. Benny Lile I had that rare experience once again.
This time as it has been before with his best seller, Outliers, it was Malcolm Gladwell. The episode of his podcast Revisionist History entitled “The King of Tears” is 45:17 of sheer genius.
In the show Gladwell explores far more eloquently and entertainingly than I ever could the difference in musical taste. He clearly defines the difference between pop/rock music which mostly serves to explore the frivolous and traditional country (among other genres including Opera and some rock ballads) which mostly exists to explore real matters of the heart including those moments in every day life that cause us heartache and pain.
In the episode Gladwell samples some real classics, but more importantly shows as classic exhibits the lines that bring water to our eyes in a way the more frivolous songs do not. We as listeners get to hear songs from John Prine, George Jones, Tammy Wynette and Emmy Lou Harris among others. Many of these songs are penned by the great Bob Braddock whom Gladwell crowns, “The King of Tears.”
The episode is wonderfully put together and masterfully produced. It makes the point I’ve tried to make for years which is that some songs peer deep into the human soul while others hit only the base and the surface level of human existence. The former appeals to me greatly. The latter makes me sad in its irrelevance.
If you like me have always been drawn to the sad songs and the depth and complexity of emotion derived from simple words and phrases, this episode is a must listen. I wish I had made it myself, but I am grateful Malcolm Gladwell did. I am grateful I listened to it. You will be too.