Enduring songs like “Amazing Grace” or “Hallelujah” can shake you at your core and leave lifelong impressions on your heart. They are supreme examples of the jolt of emotions, songs, especially gospel, can give people, regardless of faith. Gospel lyricism paired with the heartbreak and desperation in country music, is more than relevant to most, and singer-songwriter Tessy Lou Williams knew exactly that when she agreed to take on “Why Do I Still Want You.”
“This song fits the theme of the record perfectly,” Williams told American Songwriter. “It’s a record that encapsulates feeling alone and hopeless in the way that true heartbreak makes you feel. This song hits harder than most because it pinpoints how even a devout person can be so completely devastated that the one thing they can turn to, to find strength, doesn’t help. If you’ve ever gone through heartbreak, you know the feeling. Nothing, including your own faith, can completely absolve the pain inside. When heartbreak happens, regardless of your faith or intensity to move on, you’ll always wonder, ‘why do I still want you?’”
The impactful classic country style song was introduced to Williams by her producer Luke Wooten, who was close friends with the songwriter Leslie Satcher. Wooten had heard the song before and knew it would be phenomenal fit for Williams talent. Williams was immediately affected after hearing the song’s lyrics the very first time.
“Luke Wooten, my producer, brought this song to my attention right before we started working on this record,” Williams recalled. “He and Leslie Satcher, the song’s writer, had been longtime friends, and he’s always loved the song. The line in the song, ‘If the Lord is my shepherd and I shall not want, then why do I still want you?’ hit me hard the first time I heard it. The entire song is beautiful, but that particular line made my heart ache in the most real sense of the phrase. I fell in love with the melody and message and learned it in an hour while sitting in the vocal booth at Station West.”
The song is rife with classic country elements and is arranged in storytelling about family, heartbreak and suffering that results in questioning one’s faith. Williams vocal harmonies act as a catalyst for desperation, suited to uphold the pain depicted in the song. The story, however many times it has been told, is quintessential to human experiences of agony and hopelessness.
“I hope, truly, that people can relate to this,” Williams shared. “Whether they are religious or not, the main point of the song is about being so purely heartbroken that even something you usually seek comfort in doesn’t work. I hope, like any great heartbreak song, they feel less alone in their experiences.”