Music occasionally has the ability to transport us to another place. If you look up where a lot of music genres originated, you’ll notice a long line of oppressed peoples. Blues is generally accepted to have evolved from African slave songs. Flamenco, developed by a clash of Gypsies, Moors, Jews, and indigenous cultures in Spain, is classically touted as a music of the poor and oppressed. House started in Chicago in the 1980’s and was largely founded and propelled by gay and African American audiences at the time.
Music psychologists Juslin & Västfjäll refer to it as episodic memory: the idea that the emotions we feel from hearing a song are actually induced by a memory the song evokes – that the song takes us from where we are back to the feeling of that place. I carry many songs that remind me of family vacations, lost loves, college pre-games, late night conversations and road trips with my brother.
Lately I’ve been doing a lot of digging into old tunes. I’ve had the song below for around 12 years now and have let it carry me through some tough times. The story centers around a railway worker, far away from home, who dreams of his love throughout the miserable working conditions.
I believe this song was written to describe that need to escape to better memories during tough realities. As a listener, I’ve definitely let the song temporarily transport myself on dark days.