Before even hearing “God Sends a Train,” it is critical to hear the story behind the track.
Kristy Osmunson, one half of American Young (along with Jon Stone), explained that her relationship with her mother turned south after her mother’s marriage to Kristy’s stepfather. Due to the tumultuous marriage, Kristy and her mother parted ways, opting to barely speak during Kristy’s high school years. Kristy recalled a day when she was sitting in school and she was paged over the intercom. She then received the devastating news that her mother had been hit by a train while in her vehicle. To help Kristy heal from this experience, she put her feelings into a song. The product of this is the emotionally driven “God Sends a Train.”
The song, that is predominantly delivered by Kristy, is dark and eerie, while simultaneously exuding the feelings of peace, serenity, and acceptance. Undoubtedly, the track doubles as work product and therapy for Kristy, as she sings about her difficult childhood and the day she received word about her mother’s incident on the train tracks.
In the second verse of the song, Kristy explains how she found out what had happened:
One morning in high school history class a chill ran down my back when they called my name on the intercom, I already knew it was bad. They said her Blazer was in pieces out there on those railroad tracks, as I went to see what was left of her, I wondered will this bring her back?
The short, but impactful, chorus reminds us that God’s messages come to us in a variety of ways, and if we don’t see or hear the quiet signs, it may result in one loud, booming message from above. “‘Cause sometimes God sends a whisper, carried in on the rain. And when we don’t want to listen, sometimes God sends a train.”
The third verse brings us the climax of the story, as Kristy shares that her mother survived the accident and finally listened to the message that God had been trying to send her all along. This message was that her strained marriage was detrimental to her and her children, and it was time to open her eyes and re-evaluate her life and who and what she allowed into it.
In an incredibly moving twist, Kristy also tells us that the train’s engineer came to visit and, in his hand, was a glass angel he found stuck to the front of his train. The same glass angel (now sans one wing) that hung from her mother’s rearview mirror that Kristy refers to in the first verse.
There are so many components to this American Young song that make this track a must-listen: the raw emotion and honesty that make country music such a special genre; the incredible story behind the song; and, most importantly, the message that we should look for even the smallest signs from above to guide us in our lives. I applaud Kristy for sharing such a personal story with fans, as well as Jon for sitting beside her and supporting her, both in friendship and in music.
Thank you for putting so much of yourselves into your music. This is one of the many reasons #CMchat loves American Young. Listen to “God Sends a Train” below and allow your life to be changed (credit to Taste of Country for the video). You can also watch our recent #CMchat #Twangout video interview with Kristy and Jon below:
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