Few artists can make you feel the power of music quite like Brandy Clark.
Her latest album, Big Day in a Small Town, is loaded with gems, and the deeply poignant “Since You’ve Gone to Heaven” ranks right up there as one of her finest.
The song’s lyrics are a beautifully casual conversation with a loved one on the other side — giving updates on the state of the world and, sadly, the state of the family in the wake of loss.
Although the song is not entirely autobiographical, Clark says it did come from a very personal place.
“My dad passed away right before 9/11,” she explains. “And when 9/11 happened, the whole world and our country were just crazy. And I thought, ‘Since Dad died, the world has just gone to hell.’”
Not knowing quite how to get the words out for such a song, she shared the idea with her friend, hit songwriter Shane McAnally. The two had driven to Tunica, Mississippi, to gamble, and on the way back started talking about how they would write it. The next week, it was completed.
“When you’re from a small town, a lot of times the thing that brings you back is a wedding or a funeral,” Clark observes. “For myself, when my dad died, there were almost 500 people at his memorial service, and I think that’s a really special thing in a small town.
“The only other people that get that in the world are famous people — unless you’re from a small town. But when something like that happens, the people in a small town really rally for the family.”
Although the gossip and drama of a small town are fun to sing about, she says this example of selflessness was equally important to include on the project.
“For me, when I saw that, I really saw what was special about a small town.”