Last November I was introduced to the UK country group Stanford Road. The band is made up of the husband-wife duo Terry Muller and Rachael Muller. For those who don’t remember, they call themselves Stanford Road because that was the name of the street they met each other and lived as neighbors. Their Open Ended EP they released last November was a very good collection of music. Today I look at their brand new single “The Messenger,” to see if they can deliver good music again.
The song starts off with some soft acoustic guitar play and this is the only instrumentation used throughout the song. It only rises and lowers in tempo in the appropriate spots. I like this singer-songwriter, stripped down approach Stanford Road uses in their music. Many times with country music “less is more” is usually true and this something I’m always screaming at mainstream acts when I’m reviewing another overproduced offering from them. It also makes great sense for a duo, especially a duo like this that writes their own songs, because a great duo is always defined by their harmonies and balance of vocals.
As for the theme and lyrics, the song is set in a time of war and how someone deals with the bad news brought to them by the messenger boy. The lyrics that stood out to me in this song are when Rachael crooned:
“The beautiful solider, married a year/She wanted to hold you forever and keep you near/Oh won’t you stop, why can’t you wait?/Don’t want you breaking news today/Give them tonight or let the truth be a lie/Messenger boy you’ll never destroy this place of hallowed ground.”
The woman in the song is struggling to come to grips with the reality of her situation and realize that she has lost the love of her life to the war. She hopes it is all a lie and doesn’t want the messenger boy to deliver the news that will tear down her walls. The “hallowed ground” refers to the love between the husband and wife that is now destroyed because the husband died in the war. Rachael’s vocals do a fantastic job of expressing the somber and dark mood of this song. While it took me a few listens to really grasp this song, once I did grasp what this song is about it definitely makes you feel the pain and sorrow of the woman in the song.
Stanford Road once again delivers with “The Messenger.” It’s a song filled with emotion that will certainly move most listeners. The lyrics are simple, yet very effective. The instrumentation drives the mood of this song perfectly. Both Terry and Rachael harmonize well together, most notably on the chorus when they sing the word “hallowed” together to really set the tone of this song. I would definitely recommend checking out Stanford Road’s “The Messenger.” Country music needs more heartfelt songs like this one.