Crime Song Wednesday: Independence Day by Martina McBride

My first exposure to this song was a few years back when I had an exceptionally long commute and discovered that talk radio kept me more alert for the drive then the music stations. I may not have agreed with what they were saying but they sure kept me awake. For years Sean Hannity has used the chorus of this song on his show as an intro and outro. I had always assumed, based off of the way that he was using that it was a patriotic go USA type song. Barely surviving my pigeonholing when I finally heard the full song much later I was blown away. First, Martina McBride has an amazing voice. Second, what a brutal and well written song.

I love how the meaning of the words “Independence Day” changes over the course of the song.

One of the things that I have been thinking about lately is how the types of crimes tend to fall within just a small number of categories in crime fiction. There are whole categories of crimes that don’t really get written about too much: consensual crimes, small crimes, “victimless” crimes. There are multiple crimes we are talking about here. First there is the spousal abuse. Then there is the complicit silence of the small town. Last is the burning down of the house.

When I first heard the song I thought that the daughter burned the house down. But its the mother that does it. The mother used the opportunity of the daughter being out of the house to set the house on fire. Here’s the important question, one to debated and without a right answer. Was the mother’s act a selfish or a selfless one? Did she foresee a the same future for her daughter or was she just tired of the burden?

Great song and great piece of crime fiction.

Well she seemed all right by dawn’s early light
Though she looked a little worried and weak
She tried to pretend he wasn’t drinkin’ again
But daddy left the proof on her cheek
I was only eight years old that summer
And I always seemed to be in the way
So I took myself down to the fair in town
On Independence Day

Well word gets a round in a small, small town
They said he was a dangerous man
Mama was proud and she stood her ground
But she knew she was on the losin’ end
Some folks whispered and some folks talked
But everybody looked the other way
And when time ran out there was no one about
On Independence Day

Let Freedom ring, let the white dove sing
Let the whole world know that today is a
Day of reckoning
Let the weak be strong, let the right be wrong
Roll the stone away, Let the guilty pay, It’s
Independence Day

Well she lit up the sky that fourth of July
By the time that the firemen come
They just put out the flames
and took down some names
send me to the county home
Now I ain’t sayin’ it’s right or it’s wrong
But maybe it’s the only way
Talk about your revolution
It’s Independence Day

Let Freedom ring, let the wight dove sing
Let the whole world know that today is a
Day of reckoning
Let the weak be strong, let the right be wrong
Roll the stone away, Let the guilty pay, It’s
Independence Day

Roll the stone away
It’s Independence Day

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Brian Lindenmuth

Brian is the non-fiction editor of Spinetingler magazine and one of the fiction editors of Snubnose Press. In addition to Spinetingler his work has appeared in Crimespree magazine and at BSC Review, Galleycat and the Mulholland Books website. He also heads the Spinetingler Award committee.

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About Brian Lindenmuth

Brian is the non-fiction editor of Spinetingler magazine and one of the fiction editors of Snubnose Press. In addition to Spinetingler his work has appeared in Crimespree magazine and at BSC Review, Galleycat and the Mulholland Books website. He also heads the Spinetingler Award committee.

2 Replies to “Crime Song Wednesday: Independence Day by Martina McBride”

  1. Country music is full of songs like this. They explore the world behind closed doors that most crime writers don’t want to see or explore. And those small towns can be darker than the back alley behind the corner bar. Love Martina McBride!