One Track Mind: Lee DeWyze, “Blackbird Song” from The Walking Dead (2014)

Utterly engrossing, and full of dusty portent, Lee DeWyze’s “Blackbird Song” couldn’t have put more space between his time on American Idol and where he is now.

DeWyze, who won Season 9 of Idol, issued the more country pop-leaning Frames last summer. Forget that: Arriving as part of an extended examination of the Bob Stookey character on AMC’s The Walking Dead, DeWyze’s new oaken rumination (“pack your things,” he whispers, “leave somehow”) framed the episode’s wider theme of worry over what lay ahead. Stookey is, of course, on the run alongside Sasha and Maggie as this episode — ominously titled “Alone” — unfolds, and that desperate flight is echoed in “Blackbird Song,” as well.

You’d almost think the track was written especially for The Walking Dead. And, in fact, it was. Seems Fred Jasper, from the parent company of DeWyze’s label Vanguard Records, sent a query email to Thomas Golubic, who supervises music for the series. Attached to the email was a song DeWyze had written with the AMC show in mind.

Intrigued, Golubic passed DeWyze’s tune along to Scott Gimple, show runner for The Walking Dead, and eventually “Blackbird Song” was woven into the backstory for Stookey. DeWyze’s track ultimately bookended the episode, giving us new insight into the character portrayed by Lawrence Gilliard Jr. — and, it seems, into DeWyze, too.

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Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.
  • HippyGirlHeather

    I’m such a fan of this kid, always have been….this show is great too and I was thrilled to hear he got this chance…to have a song on such a huge show. This is the kind of music he should be making. Frames was much closer but, still not quite what he’s capable of. Great piece, Nick.

  • Melissa Will

    Lee DeWyze is a truely incredibly gifted singer/songwriter. He is the real deal. So glad he got this opportunity on this incredible show. He is incredible LOVE his voice! Unique and deserves it all. :) Huge Australian fan.