Alan Recommends: “She Left Me for Jesus” by Hayes Carll

Alan Good
Alan Good
Jun 20, 2018 · 2 min read
Image for post
Image for post

I’m mostly OK, most of the time, with my lot in life, but I also wish I was Hayes Carll.

Carll is one of those musicians who is acclaimed and respected but not famous. He is so skilled as a songwriter that I’m comfortable talking about him in the same breath as John Prine and Townes Van Zandt. Every song he writes is better than almost every mainstream country tune that’s been recorded in my lifetime, but my favorite song is “She Left Me for Jesus,” from , an album that opens with a song Carll wrote with an acclaimed and respected but not necessarily famous legend, Ray Wylie Hubbard.

“She Left Me for Jesus,” which was co-written with Brian Keene, is the last and the countriest song on the album, featuring a steel guitar and Carll singing with a little extra twang in his voice. The song plays on the classic jilted lover theme, with a humorous twist equivocating on the word “find” in finding Jesus:

The narrator thinks his rival is some sandal-wearing hippie-freak-commie named Jesus, but the listener knows the narrator is actually jealous of his lover’s Lord and Savior. At the moment, I can’t think of any other songs, in any genre, that employ dramatic irony.

The funniest moment comes in the third verse, where the narrator declares,

It’s a funny song, but it’s not a novelty song. The musicianship is first-rate. Even some Paul Ryanesque ignorer of discomforting lyrics could still dance along.

For the record, I could imagine some hyper-sensitive Christians being offended, but the joke here is on the narrator, not anyone’s religious beliefs; although I’m less certain about that claim after watching the video.

Memoir Mixtapes

The ultimate mashup of the two things we all love to talk…

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch

Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore

Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store