- Gary @ BootsofUK
Camp Jackson - by Michael B Whit review
Michael B Whit is an American Country singer, songwriter and producer born and raised in Centreville (a small town in Illinois, outside of St Louis). Like many artists he was influenced by music at an early age, and has gone on to open for major artists like Old Dominion, Cole Swindell and Jimmie Allen to name a few.
Michael was named to the class of 2022 'Color Me Country' artist to watch. From listening to his music, it's easy to see why!
It’s a song about the main road in my hometown and how essential it is to the people that are from that small town. It also talks about how much it has changed and is currently changing. I wrote it when I was homesick and wanted to reflect back on the good times all the things that made me who I am.
"There’s a small town
Where the main road can barely stretch five miles and you can’t walk up or down
Without bumping into someone you ain’t seen in a while
That makes you dig up all the memories underground
That you’ve buried now"
This lyric although referencing his small hometown, can also be a metaphor for life in so much as we are constantly reminded of our life lessons one way or another, and the memories that are attributed to those lessons. Some that you thought you'd buried and had desperately wanted to avoid.
"There’s a Hardee’s near the Walmart and a two-lane road near the edge of the park
If you go down that little bus route
It'll turn you around end you right where you started from
Makes you recall the things that made you who you are yea yea yea"
This lyric points reference to landmarks in our life, the places where we've come to turn our lives around. It also references mindfulness and being present, acknowledging 'the things that made you who you are'.
"It’s your first kiss on recess
The long ride home with a bad grade to show your dad
Right on Camp Jackson
Dear ole Camp Jackson"
This reads as a love letter to his hometown. Michael personifies it by detailing how it gives you your "first kiss on recess".
"Where the city lights could never shine
You swear you’ll leave a thousand times
But you ain’t never fully gone you’re only passing dear ole Camp Jackson and that alright
Little street on the riverside."
I really like how the chorus captures the draw of a hometown yet the juxtaposition of the draw of 'the city lights'. This could also be reference to all the low and dark times we encounter through life, and how somehow, our surroundings, as well as loved ones, help us to see those city lights and achieve potential, our greatness; yet there is still a darkness that we carry, so we can truly appreciate the brightness of our success in life.
"It had everything you need between route three and the edge of the county line
Missing those ice rink winters and pool day summer vibes￼
When we had everything to make this life worthwhile
But it’s all gone now."
Reminiscing back on life and perhaps on how life has drastically changed now, thanks in part to global warming Missing those ice rink winters and pool day summer vibes'. This could also reference a shift in our mindset and what we hold 'worthwhile'.
"It’s the heartbeat it’s the centerpiece
It’s the movie theatre up for lease in this nowhere town
It's dear ole Camp Jackson
It's dear ole Camp Jackson yeah."
It's not until we grow up can we truly appreciate how influential our hometown is to us. How a hometown is like the heartbeat in our lives. Whilst the lyric relating to 'movie theatre' is relevant to Michael's hometown, it could also personify the part within us that needs to start afresh, to give us new life and reinvigorate ourselves, re-establishing our inner confidence. Reference to 'nowhere town' whilst perhaps detailing the significance geographically, could also demonstrate awareness in the wider scheme of things. Wherever we are, it's never taken for granted, we are only a fraction of the population, the world, the universe.
"Where the city lights could never shine
We’re out of sight and out of mind
Your heart never fully leaves it’s just only passing here on Camp Jackson."
Whilst we may move on in life, our hometown, and those we recall fondly, may be 'out of sight and out of mind' no longer a constant in our lives; we still hold a love inside for the memories. They never truly leave us.
"And to all the folks that called her home
Truck caught flat you had to head to Mo’s
Cause all your friends worked at his tire shop and the repo's coming for the lemon that you bought."
Perhaps a reference to literally calling it a home town, yet it can also be a reference to us being someone's 'home' or safe place, and also detailing breakdowns (Truck caught flat). The Repo could be reference to those who help salvage lives which have run into difficulty (the lemon).
"Just up the block you can see the lights from the gateway arch
But you know they’ll never shine far enough to reach Camp Jackson."
The light, perhaps being the clarity we see in life, giving us reinvigorated energy, direction and purpose. The light doesn't need to be too bright, just bright enough to inspire a change. The rest of the brightness is made up of our energy, passion and zest for life.
"When you grow up in a small town
Here on Camp Jackson nothing to everyone but everything to us yeah
It was your first job first date first time falling in love yeah
You never knew a road could mean so much."
Camp Jackson, is perhaps a representation of our inner true north. We can mean nothing to everyone, but something to someone. It's the latter that helps form inspiration, creating idols for future generations. The song is personifying ourselves, we never know how much we mean to others, and how much our impact influences others.
On the subject of inspiring and influencing, Michael B Whit will also be at this year's Long Road Festival amongst many other great names. These talented artists performing, inspiring a new generation of Country artists and Country fans.