The Brand New Tennessee Waltz

I’ve never been a big fan of the “official” song for my home state – The Tennessee Waltz – although you’ll hear an occasional version that works. (See, for instance, the YouTube video of Bonnie Raitt and Norah Jones, where Bonnie plays a mean slide guitar solo.)  But for the second in my “Music Fit to a T” series, highlighting songs with “Tennessee” in the title, I’ve chosen a play off the state song.

Jesse Winchester wrote The Brand New Tennessee Waltz for his first album, released in 1970 while still living in exile in Canada where he had moved to avoid the draft.  He wasn’t able to tour in the US until much later in the decade and isn’t as well-known as some other singer-songwriters.

The Brand New Tennessee Waltz is a sad yet lovely song.

Oh my, but you have a pretty face
You favor I girl that I knew
I imagine that she’s back in Tennessee
And by God, I should be there too
I’ve a sadness too sad to be true

But I left Tennessee in a hurry dear
In same way that I’m leaving you
Because love is mainly just memories
And everyone’s got him a few
So when I’m gone I’ll be glad to love you

At the Brand New Tennessee Waltz
You’re literally waltzing on air
At the Brand New Tennessee Waltz
There’s no telling who will be there

When I leave it will be like I found you love
Descending Victorian stairs
And I’m feeling like one of your photographs, girl
Trapped while I’m putting on airs
Getting even by saying Who cares

At the Brand New Tennessee Waltz
You’re literally waltzing on air
At the Brand New Tennessee Waltz
There’s no telling who will be there

So have all your passionate violins
Play a tune for a Tennessee kid
Who’s feeling like leaving another town
But with no place to go if he did
Cause they’ll catch you wherever you’re hid

At the Brand New Tennessee Waltz
You’re literally waltzing on air
At the Brand New Tennessee Waltz
There’s no telling who will be there

So here’s Jesse Winchester, many years later, singing a song for a Tennessee kid.  Enjoy.

More to come…

DJB

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