Quarantine country

Some country artists are making the most of isolation and expressing their feelings through song

Emily DiSalvo, Arts and Life Editor

A few months ago, a song called “Six Feet Apart” wouldn’t have meant much to anyone. But now, Luke Combs’ new hit is moving people around the world to tears because being six feet apart is our new, difficult reality.

Thomas Rhett wrote his newest single, “Be a Light” with Reba McEntire, Hillary Scott, Keith Urban and Chris Tomlin, at the end of 2019 before the pandemic, but released it on March 30, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to remind listeners to be a light in the dark world. Proceeds from the song are helping the COVID-19 relief fund.

Thomas Rhett and other country stars wrote “Be a Light” even before the pandemic began. (WikiCommons)

Big & Rich released a more comical quarantine-song, “Stay Home,” with relatable lyrics like, “Home school is now in session and I am pulling out my hair/ It’s halfway through the morning and I’m still in my underwear.”

“Stay Home” by Big & Rich is one of the more comical quarantine tunes. (WikiCommons)

This soundtrack to the pandemic can be very healing, and these three country songs each provide solace from a music landscape saturated with songs about being close together.

“Six Feet Apart,” is uplifting. It reminds us that “there’ll be crowds and there’ll be shows and there will be light after dark one day when we aren’t six feet apart.” For many people who feel that the coronavirus has no end, this song is reassuring.

Combs details the things he wants to do when quarantine is over, as so many people have been thinking about. He sings that he will take his family out to a restaurant and buy all of his friends a round at the bar. But he also notes that the torment of this crisis won’t leave him right away.

Luke Combs’ “Six Feet Apart,” reminds listeners about the good times ahead after quarantine ends. (WikiCommons)

When Combs sings, “Catch a movie, catch a cab/ Watch a ballgame from the stands/ Probably over-wash my hands,” he acknowledges that while life will return to normal, the shadows of the coronavirus will linger for some time.

Rhett’s “Be a Light,” while not specifically written about the pandemic, seems like it was. The collection of country stars shares a series of life lessons about being the light in a world of darkness: “In a world full of hate, be a light/ When you do somebody wrong, make it right.”

This advice is key during a seemingly hopeless time. In times when it’s easy to complain, this song reminds us to find the good in each day even if there is war, darkness or a race you can’t win.

The song is also a symbol of togetherness. Country music stars, new and old, collaborated on this song and the intermingling of their voices creates a wonderful sense of community for the listener. It’s almost as if Rhett knew there would be an instance in the future where we would need this song even before that moment occurred.

Big & Rich’s, “Stay Home,” celebrates the more unfiltered quarantine experience while still reminding listeners that we are all in this together. This song should be at the top of your quarantine playlist on days when those sappy, feel-good stories about the coronavirus are wearing on you.

The down to-earth lyrics in this song like: “I’ve Purelled the skin plum off my hands/ If y’all know what I mean/ I know without a doubt my hands have never been so clean/ The shelves are bare and empty ’cause some people just don’t care/ I’ve got one roll of toilet paper and I’m down to my last square.”

This song is a song for the moment. It won’t be applicable in any other moment like “Be a Light” will, but it will be a song we can listen to three years from now and remember the days when toilet paper and hand sanitizer were the hottest items on the market. It’s a way of documenting this moment, and all of its idiosyncrasies, through song.

Music is important right now. We are sitting at home. We are going on long walks. We are working on laptops. Music keeps us smiling as we go about our days in these trying times. But songs that embrace this historic moment bring a new kind of emotion into our days. These are lyrics that understand our quarantine fatigue, our frustration and our fear.

And then they allow us to sing about it.