This week on Road Signs I'll be interviewing Zach Myers of Shinedown. Now, I've liked Shinedown for a long time because I think they do some interesting things, some really compelling stuff. When I first heard "Second Chance" a few years ago, I was sort of caught off guard because it could have been about so many things and could have meant so many things, but something about the sound of the song hit me funny--my heart was strangely warmed. Brent Smith, the Shinedown frontman, said the song was maybe the most personal song, for him, that the band had done. He said it was all about knowing what you want and going for it despite all of the risks. It turns out that leaving Knoxville, for him, was the second chance at relationships that he left behind...kind of weird way to look at it, but I think I get it. Sometimes the only way to improve a relationship is to leave it behind.
For Brent, leaving his hometown gave him a chance to pursue his ambitions, but the truth is that all of us have to figure out what keeps us from being what we want to become. Sometimes our ambitions are misguided for sure, but getting past our hangups and hesitations is, a lot of times, the hardest thing in the world to do. Noticing what we locate as being our home and figuring out our relationship to it is the tricky part--what do we take away with us and what do we leave behind...and lots of times what we have to leave behind are things that we don't want to let go of, but have to. So much of our personal evolution requires choices, even choices that mean giving up things that we do value. How do you leave home, and, particularly, how do you leave home without anger but because it's what you have to do.
If you are the kind of person who even thinks about such things (and everyone doesn't, which is totally legit), knowing yourself involves knowing your hangups and history--but it doesn't involve dwelling on it. One reason why an awesome song is awesome (and might end being only for a minute or two) is that it gets to you before you have a chance to talk yourself out of feeling something emotional or even spiritual. "Second Chance" was the song that a friend gave me before I moved to Charlotte. I left friends and complicated relationships behind. It hurt, but if I hadn't left I never would have even imagined Road Signs.
If you get the time, send me some stories about your favorite songs and why they matter so much to you. Send them to my email or respond here.