I was sitting on the deck of my parent’s cabin on the Illinois River in NE Oklahoma early one morning several years ago enjoying the sunrise and a cup of coffee. It’s one of my favorite things in the world.
I picked up a magazine from the coffee table to pass the time. It was a copy of Circuit Rider, a professional journal for Methodist clergy. My dad is retired, but he continues to get the magazine. I thumbed through the issue, and then for the rest of the day my mind kept returning to the image of a lone rider on the prairie making his way from town to town.
That evening I started writing what I thought would be a song about a circuit riding preacher, but as the story unfolded it began to focus on the preacher’s son and his desire to see the world beyond the borders of his own little town. I guess he had a bit of his father’s wandering soul.
Some songs require careful crafting and multiple re-writes, but this was one of those that from the beginning felt like I already knew the story and was re-telling it rather than writing it for the first time.
I like that when it was finished it turned out to be about the preacher after all – about laying a solid foundation that stayed with the son wherever he went.
The video is from the 2011 Annual Shareholders’ Meeting for Tinker Federal Credit Union.