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‘Wondering Why’ by The Red Clay Strays - Lyrics & Meaning

January 3, 2024 11:24 am GMT
Last Edited February 19, 2024 12:08 pm GMT

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The Red Clay Strays - ‘Wondering Why’

Label: Independent

Release Date: March 9th 2022

Album: Moment of Truth

Producers: The Red Clay Strays

Songwriters: Brandon Coleman, Dan Couch & Drew Nix

Chart Performance:

  • No. 1 on Spotify's ‘Viral 50 - USA’ Playlist
  • No. 7 on Billboard Hot Rock Songs
  • No. 10 on Billboard Hot Rock & Alternative Songs
  • No. 18 on Billboard Hot Country Songs
  • No. 26 on Billboard Adult Alternative Airplay
  • No. 93 on Billboard Hot 100

The Background:

When you hear Brandon Coleman's weighty, world-weary vocals permeate the hazy, bluesy guitar riff of ‘Wondering Why’, you could be forgiven for thinking The Red Clay Strays have been country and Americana stalwarts for the past decade or so.

However, this appealing assurance and subtle swagger belies the fact that ‘Wondering Why’ is The Red Clay Strays’ break-out hit, with the simmering, understated ballad being released in March 2022 ahead of the five-piece's celebrated debut album, Moment of Truth, which arrived on streaming platforms the following month.

In many ways, the steady, deliberate trajectory of ‘Wondering Why’ up the Billboard Hot Rock, Country and Hot 100 charts mirrors The Red Clay Strays’ willingness to take the time to cut their teeth through a relentless touring schedule over the past few years. This has taken them across the US, with high-profile performances at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, CMA Fest and Under The Big Sky, as well as supporting household names out on the road, such as Eric Church and Dierks Bentley.

Over a year after its release, thanks to a TikTok-fuelled surge in popularity and the unveiling of a new music video filmed at Colorado's Red Rocks Amphitheatre, ‘Wondering Why’ leapt to the top spot on Spotify's ‘Viral 50 - USA’ playlist towards the end of 2023. Then, The Red Clay Strays kicked off 2024 by earning their first ever Billboard Hot 100 entry, with ‘Wondering Why’ slotting in at No. 93 - and climbing.

The Sound:

‘Wondering Why’ showcases The Red Clay Strays’ now-signature ability to beautifully build out a track from a sparse and virtually a cappella opening, before gradually introducing new elements as the song grows in sonic and emotional intensity.

Similarly to the first song on the album, ‘Stone's Throw’, ‘Wondering Why’ finds Brandon Coleman setting the scene with his distinctive, tender delivery with barely any accompaniment.

This introduction outlines the protagonist's sense of inferiority to their lover, with the tentative, stripped-back instrumental echoing the insecurity and fragility of the lyrics.

Movingly, when Coleman then begins to endearingly delve into all the ways in which his partner makes him feel deeply loved, the charismatic, sashaying bass and emphatic electric guitar are brought in as the protagonist revels in this unexpected romance.

Towards the end of ‘Wondering Why’, Brandon Coleman stretches his vocal range and brings in a newfound raspiness, accentuating his fervent, stirring words of affection.

The Meaning:

“She comes from silver spoon, golden rule, private school, never miss Sunday Church
And I come from blue-collar, low-dollar, out here where concrete meets old red dirt
And I don't know what happened, but it sure don't add up on paper
But when I close my eyes late at night, you can bet I thank my maker”

‘Wondering Why‘ begins with a stark contrast between the lover's upbringing and that of our protagonist. He explains how she had a perfect and comparatively refined childhood, while he was raised ‘on the wrong side of the tracks’, so to speak.

He uses this juxtaposition as the springboard to launch into the crux of the song, with Brandon Coleman expressing his bemusement at how he ended up with such a wonderful partner.

He underlines that he thanks God each night for this blessing, which serves as a sweet continuation of the opening lyric about his lover's church-going nature, with Coleman implying she's introduced more faith into his life since they got together.

“She keeps on loving me, loves me the way I am
She's not just along for the ride, she's my biggest fan
Lord, it's a little piece of Heavеn when we lay down at night
She keeps on loving mе and I keep on wondering why”

During the heartwarming hook, Coleman highlights how his partner is not merely tagging along with him as a token gesture while he pursues his dreams - she's sat in the front row as his No. 1 supporter. He extends the religious-inspired imagery by likening their relationship to his own personal Heaven, before delivering the titular lyric, “She keeps on loving me and I keep on wondering why”.

“She's got a wicked smile, angel eyes, every guy wanting to hold her close
She's as pretty as sin like the sun sinking down on the California coast”

In the second verse, we get an interesting flurry of lights and shades as he paints a vibrant picture of his lover. So far, she's been depicted in angelic terms, but Coleman humanises his lover here by adding descriptions of the alluringly devilish traits she also possesses, before portraying her as being “as pretty as sin”. Once again, the protagonist employs religious language to add gravitas to his lyricism.

“And I don't know what happened, but it sure don't add up on paper
And as long as she lets me, I'll take her wherever she wants me to take her”

The Red Clay Strays close ‘Wondering Why’ with a warm shrug of the shoulders, as the song's protagonist resigns himself to never being able to understanding his partner's rose-tinted love for him, but professes his desire to embrace it wholeheartedly nonetheless and to gladly travel down whichever road she leads him.

What have The Red Clay Strays said about ‘Wondering Why’?

Speaking in the midst of ‘Wondering Why’s success, The Red Clay Strays clarified its origins, “‘Wondering Why’ was written in 2019. Our guitar player, Drew Nix, and I were in Nashville, and we had a co-write set up with a man named Dan Couch. We wanted to go in and try to write a love song, and it took us three or four hours, but we got it knocked out and it ended up being our most popular song”.

For the full lyrics to The Red Clay Strays’ ‘Wondering Why’, see below:

“She comes from silver spoon, golden rule, private school, never miss Sunday Church
And I come from blue-collar, low-dollar, out here where concrete meets old red dirt
And I don't know what happened, but it sure don't add up on paper
But when I close my eyes late at night, you can bet I thank my maker

She keeps on loving me, loves me the way I am
She's not just along for the ride, she's my biggest fan
Lord, it's a little piece of Heavеn when we lay down at night
She keeps on loving mе and I keep on wondering why

She's got a wicked smile, angel eyes, every guy wanting to hold her close
She's as pretty as sin like the sun sinking down on the California coast

She keeps on loving me, loves me the way I am
She's not just along for the ride, she's my biggest fan
Lord, it's a little piece of Heaven when we lay down at night
She keeps on loving me and I keep on wondering why

And I don't know what happened, but it sure don't add up on paper
And as long as she lets me, I'll take her wherever she wants me to take her

She keeps on loving me, loves me the way I am
She's not just along for the ride, she's my biggest fan
And it's a little piece of Heaven when we lay down at night
She keeps on loving me and I keep on wondering why
She keeps on loving me and I keep on wondering why”

For more on The Red Clay Strays, see below:

Written by Maxim Mower
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