By Kurt Wolff
The desert wind blows quietly at the start of the Band Perry‘s new video for “Gentle on My Mind.” Quietly and, some might say, ominously.
The setting for the video is a beautiful desert landscape, and we soon see a white Jeep sitting idle in an empty truck stop parking lot. Inside is a couple—they’re silent at first, then the woman reaches for the man’s hand, smiles and says she’ll be right back.
But when she returns, the man is gone. All that’s left is a postcard that reads, “Had to go.”
Though this could easily be the setup for a suspense or horror flick (remember The Vanishing?), it’s actually not as ominous as the scenario might imply. It’s a song about drifting, and that’s just what the guy here does: drift away. The woman? She doesn’t scream or even cry. She apparently knew what she was getting into with this dude (or so we hope—she can’t be that much of a pushover), so she takes it in stride. She even smiles when she sees the postcard, answering his message by mumbling out loud, “I know.”
The song then finally kicks in, showing the guy, pack on his back, walking away down a lonely desert road; the desert shots (which later move to the mountains, showing big trees and waterfalls) are interspersed with clips of the three Band Perry siblings play the song live inside what looks like a vintage theater. The outdoor scenery shifts from the desert to the mountains, showing our now bearded antihero frolicking among big trees and waterfalls, while at the same time thinking back to the woman he left behind.
Written by John Hartford, “Gentle on My Mind” is a modern-day folk classic that’s been recorded by hundreds of singers (Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, even R.E.M.), but most notably by Glen Campbell, who turned it into a Top 40 radio hit in 1967. A year later, the song won four GRAMMY awards for both Campbell and Hartford. It also became the theme song to Campbell’s CBS TV show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, which ran from 1969 to 1972.
The Band Perry’s version of “Gentle on My Mind” is a faithful cover of Campbell’s, and it appears on the recently released EP that’s a soundtrack companion to the documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me. One of the songs on the collection, is “I’m Not Gonna Miss You”, which is Campbell’s final studio recording and was just nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Country Song.
The Band Perry’s version of “Gentle on My Mind” also earned a GRAMMY nomination for Best Country Duo/Group Performance.
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