A country song might be the last place you’d expect hear about gay marriage.
But country music is a vibrant living tradition, a form of storytelling. The songs dreamed up on Nashville’s Music Row are the stories we tell about ourselves. They’re how we laugh at our troubles, how we get down in a hick town, how we sing ourselves to sleep, and how we talk about what it means to be American. In modern pop music, country stands out as the adult in the room, getting beyond sex and
partying to deal with financial hardship, longing for what you’ll never have, losing a parent, a child leaving home, coming back from war, struggling with addiction, a marriage ending – songs about yourself and the people you know.
It’s always darkest before something finally dawns on you. In the past ten years, marriage equality has morphed from a cultural unknown to a clear civil rights issue, made obvious by the increasing hysteria it generates the closer it gets to national acceptance. When Proposition 8 passed in our own state of California, barring gay marriages based on this weird argument of “hurting traditional marriage,” our reaction was “what?” That’s when it occurred to us that we should write a song – a song in the American vernacular, a country song.
We knew that there was too much anger, on both sides. Adding more outrage and vitriol seemed pointless. That’s an easy tune to preach to one side, but a harder song for the whole congregation to hear.
Instead we chose to tell a simple truth: People fall in love. Folks you know – your lawyer, doctor, soldier, cop, cousin, friend, brother, sister, daughter, son, niece, nephew, uncle, mechanic, athlete, artist, aunt, and, yes, even stylist – they fall in love. People who fight for you, heal you, entertain you, help figure out your life, sit near you in church, and come running when something happens to your family, they fall in love. And falling in love, finding that perfect combination, is difficult and miraculous and precious.
In our song we told the story of three marriages, two gay and one straight. True stories, universal stories, something hard to argue with. Hell, even Dick Cheney knows exactly what we’re talking about. It’s universal. People fall in love. And it’s beautiful. It’s not politics – it’s fact.
So “Everybody Wants To Say I Do” has love at its beating center, just like love is the centerpiece of religion, and the thing that can bring joy into center of your life.
And we told it with a tune we hope everyone can find it in themselves to sing along with. A country song for the whole country.
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Listen to the song here: Everybody Wants to Say I Do