‘Black Train’ by James Dunne - review
This review sees the return of James Dunne and his music for a deep dive. You may remember I've previous reviewed his song 'Duty' and if you've not read that yet, go read after this.
'Black Train' is a song about seeking redemption, yet also an admission of not being perfect in the past and trying to break the habit but to no avail.
The song definitely has a feel of defiance and wanting redemption.
"Well I’m riding on a long black train I ain’t ever coming back,
My shadows always chasing me, its tearing up the track,
I’ve done things I ain’t proud of, I’ve done things to bring me shame, But the only thing about it is, I’ll do them all again."
The 'long dark train' is perhaps a metaphor of the past experiences not wanting to be revisited, and yet those experiences are carried with you even in your shadows which is why you feel constantly chased by them. The verse acknowledges feeling of genuine repent, yet the realisation that unless something is done, it'll happen all again.
"Well I’m gonna face the devil, I’m gonna grab him by the hand, I’m gonna ask him why he wants to give me that there bloody brand,
And I’ll cry out to the Lord above and I’ll call him by his name, I got the devil by the tail now and I’ll ride him back to hell again,
Yeah I’m gonna ride him, back to hell again."
The chorus details the tussle with temptation, whilst also confronting them. 'Facing the devil' is certainly confronting the issue, or at least acknowledging there's a problem. As for asking why, that's a deep and philosophical question, but ultimately a reflective one about your own actions. Why did we make the choices that we have? Do we continue in making those choices, or can we change? When calling out for the Lord, it's as though we're trying to seek forgiveness and redemption for the penance we've done. Riding the devil is a great image, and represents controlling temptation, the demons; yet "gonna ride him, back to hell again" suggests that it's a forgone conclusion that you're going to fall off and go back to dark places. This isn't something to fear, but in knowing when you're at your lowest, you can have your biggest achievements, everything is more significant, the little victories!
"I’ve had my share of trouble, And I’ve had my share of pain, But every time I try to do it right it always ends the same,
And one thing you can count on is the devils always there, Waiting for his chance to strike on the burdens that you bare."
We've all experienced moments of pain, of trouble, but not every time does it end the same. Each scenario and circumstance is slightly different, have their own nuances. It is from our deepest struggles that come the greatest successes.
"I’m gonna ride into that cold black night with a pistol by my side, I’m gonna drag that bastard in the mud and let them bullets fly, Then I’ll jump back on that long black train, in a box car in the back, My shadow it’s still chasing me, can I outrun my bloody past?"
The final verse details the fight, or the willingness thereof, to overcome the challenges, whilst acknowledging you're travelling into the unknown (cold black night) and must be prepared for anything. Jumping into the "box car in the back" could be meaning the feeling of unworthiness and having to re-establishing yourself, and any hierarchy you've formed. Personally, the question of outrunning your past isn't so much as removing yourself from it, but embracing it. It's the past and all of the experiences that go with it that have formed who you are today. We can let those experiences defeat us, or define where we go from here.
The EP launch will be at the Dukes of Highgate in London on Saturday 20th May, a venue synonymous with Country music, and the song 'Black Train' will be released 3rd April 2023.
You can pre-save the song at: http://itunes.apple.com/album/id1676954508?ls=1&app=itunes