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When It Rains

by Stephen Simmons



My Great-Grandfather was convicted of first degree murder in the 1930's. The charges were eventually overturned and he was released from his life sentence. I had written the chorus to this song before anyone in my family discovered this story that my Grandmother had kept to herself. She was nine years old at the time of the incident. The court records of the trial are housed in the Tennessee State Archives in Nashville, TN.



They say my Great-Granddaddy killed a man back in my hometown
Threatened the only one who saw if he told he’d be next in the ground
Drunk and fighting over money said the State’s appointed lawyers
Other man split town, three years past, the dead man’s bones lay rotting in the holler
Till two boys digging May Apple Root stumbled across the skull
Of the missing man last seen with my Great-Grandpa riding in the dead man’s truck

When it rains and beats down on the Courthouse
Washing away our guilt and our shame
When it rains in sheets down on the hillside
Washing away the dirt and the stains from a hidden grave

The mystery of the talking skull soon enough was solved
There were only two with the missin’ man any witness ever saw
The trial was a circus, I guess everybody wanted to see
The dirty ole bootleggers, murder in the first degree
There were only two that it could be according to the law
Other man took the stand that day and laid the blame on Great-Grandpa


I’ve passed by this spot in the curve on the old Manchester Road
A million times a growing up I could find it with my eyes closed
The blood that’s running through my veins and the traits the mirror shows
Of the ones who came before us and their mysteries never told
The sins of our Fathers ain’t just the deeds that they done
But washing over truth trying to protect the ones they love



released July 14, 2020
Words and music by Stephen Simmons
Stephen Simmons: vocals, acoustic guitar
Eric Fritsch: keys, bass guitar, dilruba, percussion
Matt Rollings: harmony vocals
Larissa Maestro: celo


all rights reserved



Stephen Simmons Nashville, Tennessee

Stephen Simmons was raised in the small town of Woodbury, Tennessee. As a songwriter and Ten years as a Road Dog, Stephen’s vision has grown to entail more than just reflections of rural America. Stephen’s records (which were compared to everyone from Johnny Cash to Ryan Adams) combine virtuosic songcraft and musicianship with unparalleled artistic honesty. ... more

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