Behind the Song: Your Sister Cried

Mary Gauthier Fred Eaglesmith

(by Fred Eaglesmith) I stared out of the windshield into the rain so light I turned on my dims and somebody flashed me their brights And I reached over and turned the radio way down low Your sister cried all the way home

Lightening crashed and the road shone like a mirror A dog came out of the ditch then he disappeared I remembered a conversation we once had on the phone Your sister cried all the way home

I’ll never know how you got into such a mess

Why do the bridesmaids all have to wear the same dress? Everybody said you looked real good But I think you looked stoned Your sister cried all the way home

This song floored me this first time I heard it, with its brilliant combination of humor and sadness. The dialogue is fantastic; we don’t know who is speaking, or to whom they are talking, but it works perfectly- against all odds. This song is a true rule breaker. It has so much mystery in it!

Who is saying your sister cried all the way home?  Who is the  “your” in your sister? We can’t know, and it doesn’t matter because we are right there with him/her anyway. It could be anyone, a family member a, friend, insert any two people in that car talking to each other and the dialogue words works beautifully. Amazing. Insert yourself into that story, and watch the genius of the writing become become clear. This seemingly simple song is the work of  a master.

Who just got married? Is the bride in trouble, or is it the groom? For that matter, are there two brides? Two grooms? No way to know from the lyrics, but the songs work brilliantly for every scenario you insert. Doesn’t seem possible to wrote a song like this, but Fred Eaglesmith has a way of pulling rabbits out of his hat. Most of us have been to a wedding where we wondered if it was a such a great idea for the couple to be tying the knot, and this song captures that queasy feeling of "I hope I'm wrong about this, but....."

This is brilliant songwriting- a fantastic song. Fred Eaglesmith is a master songwriter and story teller, and if you've not heard his songs before, I encourage you to check him out. His mastery of the craft in undeniable. He has been a mentor to me for over a decade, and I have recorded more of his songs than anyone else's other than my own.

I love this one!


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