True or False: Theric's exhuming things that's better left alone
lost songs


I can't think of a song more suitable for the Lost Songs series than Randy Travis's "Diggin' Up Bones" which is, after all, about "resurrecting memories."

Travis's is one of the memorable voices of my childhood and this particular song is one of many permanent tracks in my internal jukebox. It has also, for reasons I cannot explain, recently been placed on Constant Rotation alongside current popular songs and new favorites.

This particular song is about a fellow up late one night taking out old photos and love letters and like paraphernalia of a lost love. He puts on his old wedding ring and then gives hers a fling (a nice bit of wordplay), then slips into the chorus:

Yeah tonight I'm sitting alone, diggin' up bones
I'm diggin' up bones, I'm diggin' up bones
Exhuming things that's better left alone
I'm resurrecting memories of a love that's dead and gone
Yeah tonight I'm sittin' alone diggin' up bones

I think I liked this song a bit better than some of the others when I was a kid because there was no hint of infidelity---I liked songs about broken hearts, but infidelity was too much. The closest thing to sex here is "the pretty negligee that I bought you to wear."

In short, though, this songs was an excellent choice for exhumation. I think it captures much of what is typical about Eighties Radio Country---melodic hooks, cheery pop background singers, over-the-top metaphor---and grounds it in some simple guitar work and the hyper-masculine-yet-vulnerable voice of Mr Randy Travis.

I've played this song maybe a dozen times while writing this post and I still feel no regret about my decision. That's impressive.


  1. .

    In short, Randy Travis, during the peak years of his career, helped country music remain country music.

  2. This song occasionally gets stuck in my head as well. I feel like Randy Travis (and Garth Brooks etc.) was country music's last hurrah before giving up its independence and becoming a subgenre of rock. Don't get me wrong: I like Faith Hill et al. just fine, but when your hits get just as much airtime on soft-rock/adult-alternative/top-40 stations as they do on country stations, your genre's turned a corner it ain't likely to come back around.

  3. .

    Maybe. Lots of 80s and 90s (and especially 70s) country music was unabashedly pop as well.

    Country music may have left the radio, but it still exists. Hashtag Spotify.