“‘Two Sons’ is a parable Jesus told and it’s one I’ve never forgotten,” Beth Whitney told American Songwriter.
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Found in the gospel of Luke, the parable—better known as the “Prodigal Son”—teaches about the importance of reconciliation and the underlying values of forgiveness in the Christian faith. For hundreds of years, the story and its message of acceptance have been a source of strength and inspiration for many… including Whitney, who explores its themes on her new single, “Two Sons,” which dropped on March 17.
“Somehow over my lifetime, this idea of home has become more familiar and more foreign all in the same cosmic breath,” Whitney said, reflecting on the meaning of the song. “I suppose many of my songs thread-in an underlying search for someone or somewhere that would take me in. This desire to be fully known and embraced is so strong in us and yet so difficult to realize.”
Reimagining the beloved parable in a modern, Americana setting, Whitney’s understated arrangement beautifully serves the winder theme. With a light cascade of acoustic finger-picking, a bed of silky strings and a couple layers of Whitney’s vocals, the song rises to an emotional peak as the singer-songwriter repeats the phrase: “I’m miles and miles from home.”
Yet, despite the song’s religious background, Whitney taps into a more universal sense of longing. Coming ahead of her third album—Into the Ground, due later on May 28—“Two Sons” is emblematic of Whitney’s down-to-Earth, highly-relatable songcraft. Reminiscent of themes of American loneliness and individualism, the single is the newest contribution to a generations-old tradition of American semi-religious, semi-secular music. From The Carter Family to Johnny Cash to Hardy, these currents of culture have always come together in a beautiful confluence of musical expression.
Along with the single, Whitney put out a corresponding music video, which illustrates the journey the song’s narrator goes on. With an early-20th century wardrobe and an early-21st century style of filming, the video and the song unite to express a timely message of celebrating those who were lost, but now are found.
Watch the music video for Beth Whitney’s new single, “Two Sons,” below:
Photos by Eratosthenes Fackenthall