By: Zachary Kolesar, In The Record Store staff writer.
Personal stories behind songs add understanding for fans, heightening emotional reactions. They may add deeper meaning. They help add meat to a metaphor, making the song appear more intricate upon next listen. They evoke strong feelings of connection.
For the modern folk sound that Dave Buker and The Historians supply — consisting of Dave Buker, Joe Spurlock, Paul Valdiviez, Leanna Stansell and Tim Jennings — the storytelling is layered, oftentimes sentimental. Since its formation at the beginning of the decade, the members have been layering bits and pieces of their experiences behind their lyrics. It is no surprise that a band chock full of talented vocalists and songs filled with various harmonies can accomplish such a feat.
Throughout the band’s latest release, November 2015’s “For Every Heartbreak,” a handful of the nine tracks require a backstory to gain a more profound appreciation. “The Sun in the Sky,” the essence of the album, details an intimate story of overcoming the challenges of love between two bandmates, Buker and Stansell. It has an origin unmatched by any of Dave Buker and The Historians’ previous songs, as stressed by Buker on the podcast.
“There’s a difference between to someone and for someone — there’s a distinct difference,” Buker said during a recording of In The Record Store. “I rarely would write a song for someone, because that sounds weird. It’s not as endearing as "to someone.'"
“The Sun in the Sky” is a serenade with a folksy introduction reminiscent of a starry summer night. It sets a deeply reflective tone from the first guitar strum. When he introduces the song with, “I’ve never known anyone who could forgive like you, with a heart so big it could swallow the sun in the sky,” he said that he is referring to Stansell.
Although the band has been around for seven years, Stansel joined the band three years ago, after meeting Buker while they were both working at COSI. This September, the two will tie the knot, but Buker mentioned on the show that, like all relationships, they traveled down a challenging road together before getting to that point.
“The beginning of our relationship was rather trying and coming through that is something I felt the need to thank her for her patience, and I think that’s a good summation of the song,” Buker said during the podcast.
Buker makes his appreciation for Stansell more clear when he follows the opening lyrics saying, “And when I crawled back, claiming I’d seen the truth, you took me back in and looked at me straight in the eyes and said, ‘Every heart gets lost from time to time.’” Knowing of Stansell and Buker's marriage plans while listening to the song provides backbone for what could be a cliche message of true love overcomes all.
But, for Buker's tune - it doesn't feel cliche at all.