Welcome to our ‘The Truth Behind the Song’ feature. For this feature, we’ve asked a number of our favourite artists to give us in-depth piece about a song that has a special place in their heart. Today we feature the brilliant Mal MacWatt, who gives us an insight into the meaning behind ‘Raining Down in Nashville’.
I wrote Raining Down In Nashville a couple of days after learning about the tragic death of Texas country singer Kylie Rae Harris in a car crash on her way to a music festival. The international country “family” is pretty small and close-knit and even though I personally didn’t know this young woman or her music, her death really resonated with me and I kept mulling it over in my mind. What happened to Kylie Rae could happen to any of us; as a gigging musician you have to travel and I nearly always drive, often in busy weekend traffic or coming home late at night, knocking back Red Bulls and coffee, tired yet buzzing. I had this idea that even though she wasn’t from Tennessee, the city of Nashville – the spiritual home of country music – would also be mourning her loss by bringing the rain down.
I also wanted the song to show how difficult it can be to deal with grief and even though we know we need to move on with life it’s not an easy process. The cop in the song represents the real world – it’s your sorrow but he’s just doing his job and telling you that no matter how bad you feel life around you keeps on going but for a while some of the joy and colour is missing.
Raining Down in Nashville was always going to be a power ballad and I knew it had to have the piano and strings as the base to build the song from. I also desperately wanted the song to be country from the start hence the banjo in the introduction which doesn’t reappear until the second verse.
As a songwriter I usually start with the chorus and work the verses up to it. I knew what I wanted to say and wanted to keep it as straightforward and simple as possible and I was lucky that everything just fell into place.