A Song and A Band to Know – “Apple Pie” by Flannel Graph

Having a subscription to Spotify has completely changed the way I listen to music. Obviously, I haven’t bought a CD in a long time and I can stream music from my smartphone, iPad, and/or any internet-connected desktop.  In a broader way, it’s allowed me to diversify what I listen to. No longer do I listen to the same album over and over again – like I did with whatever exciting new CD  (or cassette tape before that) I bought.  Instead, I do much more exploring of genres I like  rather than just playing bands or singers with whom I am already familiar. 

A still very “Indy” duo I found recently via Spotify is Flannel Graph. According to the rather limited info about them on the web (no Wikipedia page yet – I just checked) it’s a young woman singer and young guy guitar player both of whom are from a small town in Montana. By far their most popular song on Spotify is “Five Foot Three” with about 197,500 plays so far. It’s a cute song about how the singer is “small, but mighty” with a video worth watching.

It seems that while Flannel Graph are not explicitly a Christian band (as this word doesn’t seem to appear anywhere on their home page), biblical stories inform a number of their songs. Their first full album is entitled “Ribs of Adam” and it contains a few songs with clear connections to the Bible. This focus is even more apparent on their 2013 EP “Five Foot Three” which includes a thoughtful reimagining of Psalm 23 entitled Saints Out of Sailors. 

The song to know, which I find simultaneously clever, creative and moving, is Apple Pie – a modern adaptation of the Parable of the Lost Son in Luke’s gospel. The lyrics are poetic and the pairing with the playful, folksy melody is inspired. 

 Apple Pie

by Flannel Graph

I told my dad I didn’t love him anymore 
And I grabbed all the cash 

And I ran and slammed the door 

And I spent it like 

Yea, I spent it like a movie star 

Yea, I spent it right 

I spent it right in all bars 

And I was so hungry 

So thirsty 

The ladies, they adored me 

And the men all wished to be me 

They burned with all their jealousy 

I had everything that a man like me should buy 

And I lived like a King in America with Apple Pie 

But my heart was small 

And my world was smaller than before 

And my fence was tall 

To keep out the people who were wanting more 

I knew a girl 

Oh, Katie was her name 

She was quite the whirlwind 

And she wanted to state my claim 

And she said 

Oh baby 

Oh maybe 

You and me could get married 

And we’ll settle down and bury all the warrants in our history 

But all the party lights went out 

And I was left alone 

And the amount of money that I had 

Was the amount of love I was shown 

And I had nothing 

Oh nothing 

Yea, I had nothing 

Yea, I had nothing 

No 

But I had something 

Oh, I had something 

Oh something 

Oh, I had something 

Oh, I had something 

Oh, I had something 

Oh, I had something 

Somebody 

So I gathered up all of my pride 

And I hitchhiked to a town where my dignity had died 

And he was waiting 

Yea, he was waiting 

And he ran and kissed me

I love the last line. That’s the heart of the parable, right?

In the spirit of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, I’m planning on playing this for my students when we talk about grace, forgiveness, mercy – especially during the upcoming season of Lent.  Perhaps you might as well? 
 

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