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February 9

“Paint me a Birmingham”: A Picture Depicted Words in a Song

“Paint Me a Birmingham” is a song that Buck Moore and Gary Duffy composed. American country musicians Ken Mellons along with Tracy Lawrence released the track.

In a while after switching labels from Epic, Mellons signed to Curb Records. Having worked with Curb for six years, Ken launched two singles and one album: The Best of Ken Mellons. As frustrating as it became, he asked out of his record deal with them in 2003. Mellons then moved to the independent Home Records where he released the album Sweet in 2004. The album featured “Paint Me a Birmingham”.

Lawrence’s versions entered the country charts, both of his singles stayed there for a week. Tracy Lawrence’s was the more successful of the two. The track landed at spot number 4 in early 2004. This gave Tracy his first Top 5 country hit since “Lessons Learned” in 1999.

How a Stranger Painted him a Birmingham

At the beach, the narrator was walking. As he was wandering, he saw an artist who was painting ocean scenes. The singer then asks the painter to paint a picture of the plans the man and his lost lover had actually made.

In an interview in 2004 for Songfacts, lyricist Gary Duffy shared that “Paint Me a Birmingham” is a true story. His inspiration came from an event in his teens. Before his twenties, a close childhood friend of his died in a car accident. To clear his mind, he walked on a nearby beach. Unknowingly, there was another person there. The only other person happened to be an artist painting pictures of the lake.

He had a Polaroid of he and his friend, taken at a high school dance. He took out the photo from his wallet and asked the artist to paint a picture of them. In the picture he made, the two were sitting on the porch of his large old Birmingham-styled family house. It was a scene with a great story as his family used to joke about them growing up and marrying someday. The artist perfectly captured that moment.

In the song “Paint Me a Birmingham”, there was a slight change. It became a romantic story. The lyrics deliver an unclear message as to whether the girl died or simply left.


Tags

Ken Mellons, Paint Me a Birmingham, Tracy Lawrence


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