From the first notes of Matt Campbell‘s “The Night I Found Jesus (Down at Robert’s Western World),” the imagination fills with images of a charismatic, road-worn troubadour, one like Woody Guthrie, strapped with an acoustic guitar and some scuffed-up boots, who steps up onto a table in a crowded room, and grabs everyone’s attention with artfully-crafted storytelling and a sense of humor. And couldn’t we all use a little more humor these days?
“I was draggin’ in the city, I was longin’ to be free, so we circled up the wagons and headed down to Tennessee,” he sings as he tells the story of an ambitious cowboy who has a life-changing encounter at one of the Music City’s most famous Lower Broadway haunts. “The song is about faith in the idea that ‘making it’ is more about maintaining perspective and less about the trappings of fame,” Campbell explains. “I wrote it shortly after I started working at Robert’s. It’s hard not to feel discouraged when I’m taking out the garbage in the shadow of the Ryman Auditorium when I’d rather be on the stage, but staying true to myself is what will take me there. Or not,” he adds. “There’s more to life than playing the Ryman. Like meeting Jesus in a bar!”
“The Night I Found Jesus (Down at Robert’s Western World)” appears on Campbell’s forthcoming album The Man With Everything, set for release on November 9th via Flour Sack Cape Records. Co-produced by Campbell and Joseph Lekkas, the album houses nine swirling tales supported by honky tonk-inspired instrumentation and Campbell’s lonesome tenor; listen closely enough and you can almost hear the shuffle of two-stepping feet across a sawdust-covered dancehall floor.
Without further ado, Mother Church Pew proudly presents “The Night I Found Jesus (Down at Robert’s Western World)” by Matt Campbell: