The Song Remembers When...

Posted by Tyler Castleton on

Late last night I was driving home from my office, flipping through radio stations (does anyone listen to the radio anymore??) when I landed on an 80’s station as the song “The Way It Is” by Bruce Hornsby started playing.  Instantly I was taken back more than 20 years, to a place and time I haven’t thought about in forever.  I was a carefree 16 year-old in small-town Idaho, driving my dad’s old green Ford pickup, racing home on a deserted country road at midnight, hoping desperately to make my curfew.

How do you measure your life?  How do you keep track of the days, weeks, months, years?  How do you mark those significant events, those special memories, those unforgettable moments?  When I was in college I was invited to join a country band as the keyboard player.  I had never been in a band before.  Growing up in Preston, Idaho (population 3,500) garage bands were not exactly plentiful (I knew a band of high school kids that dressed like KISS and played their music, but that was about the extent of organized pop music groups in my small hometown).  Anyway … the college band.  We were called Big Sky and we played country covers and some originals.  And we were actually pretty darn good.  In fact, we won BYU’s prestigious Battle of the Bands two years in a row!  True story.  I have to admit that before joining Big Sky I had never seriously listened to country music.  Ever.  Joining Big Sky was my introduction to that genre of music (names like Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and Diamond Rio were huge at the time) and honestly, country music changed the direction of my musical career.  It led me to start writing country music, which led to visiting Nashville, which led to a deal with a big music publisher, which eventually led to one of my songs being recorded by a country singer named Martina McBride.  And that opportunity early in my career opened doors and brought people into my life who have helped in significant ways  to mold and shape who I am as a musician and songwriter.

But back to Big Sky, award-winning country band, circa mid-1990’s.  One of the biggest female country singers at the time was Trisha Yearwood, and we covered some of her hit songs.  Trisha was known in Nashville as an artist who would search relentlessly for GREAT songs to record.  And she indeed found and recorded some good ones — including some that make my all-time “best songs ever” list (Little Hercules, Hearts In Armor, Dreaming Fields, to name a few).  Which brings me to the title of this message — one of the most profound songs I’ve ever heard, The Song Remembers When.  If you’ve never heard the song, drop what you’re doing right this second, get online, find the song, and listen to it.  Because like the message of that incredibly written song , I really do believe that some of our most vivid memories are marked by songs.  It’s certainly true for me.   My first, awkward high school dance? Open Arms by Journey.  That forgettable college romance? Forever Young by Alphaville.  My earliest memory of LDS music? Michael McLean’s Celebrating the Light.  I could go on and on (it would be fun to share a lot of my own memories through songs), but I won’t.  I love how music has the power to not only sink deep into our minds and hearts and shape our feelings, attitudes and convictions, but also how it helps to mark in history who we are, where we’ve been, and what we’ve done.  Chances are, if you ask me who I am, where I’ve been, and what’s happened in my life, instead of sitting you down and walking you through my personal history, I’m going to make you a playlist.


” And that’s just a lot of water underneath a bridge I burned

And there’s no use in backtracking around corners I have turned

Still I guess some things we buried, they’re just bound to rise again

For even if the whole world has forgotten

The song remembers when”



A Note from Tyler