Kenny Wayne Shepherd – Blue on Black

From his 1997 album, Trouble Is… The song reached #78 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart on May 8, 1998.

From Songfacts

When you mix blue and black, the black consumes the blue. It’s a powerful metaphor for a one-sided or broken relationship, which seems to be what the song is about, although with lines like “tears on a river, push on a shove” it could also relate to a death or abuse of some kind. In a Songfacts interview with Kenny Wayne Shepherd, he said: “So many people have applied it to a death in the family, an abusive relationship, a broken relationship, or whatever. There are so many different ways. That’s what’s beautiful about music and lyrics is trying to write a song that the listener can apply to their own experience in whatever way seems fit. And that’s one of those songs.”
Shepherd wrote this with the husband-and-wife team of Tia Sillers and Mark Selby, who also composed “There’s Your Trouble” for Dixie Chicks. “We wrote that when we were down in New Orleans,” Shepherd told Songfacts. “I had the music, and Mark and I were just rolling with the music and tried to develop things up. Tia came up with this idea based on a shirt that I was wearing that was blue and black. She noticed the two colors that were dominant on my shirt, and if you mix those two colors together, black consumes the blue. It doesn’t amount to anything if you put the two together: You still have one color, instead of creating a new color.”
With this track, Shepherd became one of the few blues artists to land on the Hot 100. He never returned to that chart, but consistently went to #1 on the Billboard Blues Albums tally.
Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads produced this track and the rest of the Trouble Is… album.

Blue on Black

Night
Falls and I’am alone
Skin
Yeah chilled me to the bone
You
Turned and you ran
Oh yea
Oh slipped
Right from my hand
Blue on black
Tears on a river
Push on a shove
It don’t mean much
Joker on jack
Match on a fire
Cold on ice
As a dead man’s touch
Whisper on a scream
Doesn’t change a thing
Doesn’t bring you back
Blue on black

Blind
Oh now I see
Truth
Lies and in between
Wrong
Can’t be undone
Slipped
From the tip of your tongue

Blue on black
Tears on a river
Push on a shove
It don’t mean much
Joker on jack
Match on a fire
Cold on ice
As a dead man’s touch
Whisper on a scream
Doesn’t change a thing
Doesn’t bring you back
Blue on black

Writer/s: Tia Sillers, Mark Selby, Kenny Shepherd

 

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