Sometimes real country music isn’t about deep and meaningful emotions, but just about something that the listener can identify with and relate to — something that hits home and lightens the load. That’s where a song like “Peter Filed Chapter 13” from Ruston, Louisiana-based singer Monty Russell’s 2005 album The Fool comes in.
There’s not a person in the world, I’m sure, that at some point hasn’t struggled to make ends meet. We’ve all probably, at one time or another, wondered how we were going to keep a roof over our heads and the lights on. We’ve all felt that we working too hard, not seeing our families enough and not getting anywhere for our efforts. That’s what this song is about, and it nails the feeling better than any other song I’ve heard on the subject, but it does it in a way that brings you a little brightness in the situation.
The song is an upbeat, boogie number with a couple of big organ hits and runs that give it a funky feel in places. It’s a great, fun song that will get your head bobbing even if you can’t identify. If you can, it’s that much better.
I remember when I received The Fool in 2005. My son had just been born. My wife hadn’t worked for a month or so after he was born and didn’t have any paid leave. The hospital bills had piled up, and some of the folks we owed were starting to get a little more insistent that we pay. I wasn’t having a lot of fun when I sat down at the desk to pay bills, and that night I had to try to figure out who got paid and who didn’t.
On my way home from work, I popped the CD into my player, and when I got to this song, it brightened my evening. When Russell sang “I’ve robbed Peter to pay Paul so many times Peter filed Chapter 13,” I remember just sitting in my truck and guffawing — and I don’t guffaw lightly.
It was perfect, and just what I needed. And sometimes that’s what we need music to do for us.