Cam changed the game at country radio with her mysterious and captivating ballad, “Burning House.” Now, she’s offering up a song that will change the way you remember the loved ones you’ve lost. I can tell you that’s how it affected my life.
The song is called “Village,” and it’s sung from the perspective of a departed loved one who is now watching over you and living on in your heart. The chorus goes, “Your whole heart’s a village/Everyone you love has built it/And I’ve been working there myself/And that’s where I’ll be/with a front-row seat/To watch you live your life well.”
Those lyrics hit me like a ton of bricks earlier this year when my grandfather passed away at the age of 98. I thought of the investment he’d made in my life and the lives of my family members over the generations. It brought a lot of healing and hope to me in that time of loss.
So, earlier this month, I asked Cam to tell me the story behind “Village.” The first line of the song starts out “Claire, don’t you dare believe them/I’d never leave you alone,” so I had to ask, “Who is Claire, and who is singing this song to her?”
Cam opened up and told me that Claire is her best friend from elementary school, and it’s sung from the perspective of Claire’s older brother, Chris. Cam and Claire both looked up to Chris, and Cam considered him an older brother, too.
She explained, “[Chris was] a super-cool guy. Everyone loved him. And when he was 30, like, really much too young, he passed away in an avalanche. It was super-sudden. Claire, the younger sister, was eight months pregnant at the time. We were just all stressed as all get out. I knew I couldn’t handle what was going on.”
In order to deal with the loss, Cam ended up writing “Village,” but it took her six months of stopping and starting to get the lyrics just right.
She added, “I came up with this idea of what I would want to tell my sister, who I’m close to, is that I’m not gone. And everyone that’s loved you has shaped this thing in your heart, and everyone’s still there. And all your favorite people are still there.”
That’s the point where I absolutely lost it and started crying on the red carpet at the ACM Awards. I’m thankful to Cam for writing that song and saying it’s OK to get emotional about it.
She told me, “That’s the best thing about country music is you can cry. I feel like most of life everyone says, ‘Suck it up. Don’t cry right now.’ Country music’s like, turn that [song] on, pour yourself something and just freaking cry. ”
“Village” is the last track on Cam’s debut album, “Untamed,” available now.