Music

Jimmie Allen's 'Why Things Happen' is a Powerful and Moving Collaboration Among Three Generations

ASSOCIATED PRESS / Amy Harris/Invision/AP / Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Jimmie Allen is honestly one of my favorite country artists right now. I've been listening to his music nonstop ever since he released his debut album, Mercury Lane, back in 2018. He has his own sound, but he fits perfectly on current country radio and has proven to be an incredible storyteller with songs that are impossible not to sing along with. His 2020 EP, Bettie James, was full of incredible duets with the likes of Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and even Noah Cyrus. But I haven't been able to stop thinking about "Why Things Happen," which he recorded with the legendary Charley Pride and Darius Rucker.

'Why Things Happen'

Allen wrote the song with his bass player Tate Howell, as well as Cary Barlow and Brandon Day, on Jan. 27, 2020. The specific day is important because it was the day following basketball star Kobe Bryant's tragic death. According to a social media post, Allen was also struggling with the loss of his father and grandmother at the time.

Read More: Jimmie Allen Tells Apple Radio About Collaborating With Family Favorites The Oak Ridge Boys

"You start to look at life and you start to question things and a lot of times you don't get answers you're seeking. But there's some sort of peace in asking the question and internal processing. When you're searching for clarity in something you find a lot of clarity in yourself," Allen explained to Taste of Country.

Though he had initially pitched a different song as a potential collaboration with Darius Rucker, Rucker passed, explaining that the first song they sing together needed to be important (i.e. not another drinking song). When Allen later pitched "Why Things Happen," they knew they had the perfect song to record along with Pride. It had a message that lived up to the pivotal moment of bringing the three generations of Black country stars together for the first time.

It had been Allen's dream to record a song with two of the most well-known Black country singers in history, and it couldn't have come at a more meaningful time. The country song was released just weeks after George Floyd's death sparked worldwide protests led by the Black Lives Matter movement. It was a time when everyone was struggling with feelings of loss and confusion. Bringing together three of the most successful Black singers in country music to deliver "Why Things Happen" makes the song and its message even more powerful.

Charley Pride, an early trailblazer for Black performers in the world of country music passed away in December of 2020. That means that this song would forever be a monumental moment when three generations of country music came together. Darius Rucker has long been a favorite in the country world and Jimmie Allen is following closely in his footsteps.

Since the very beginning of his career in music, Allen has been open about how he'd love to encourage more Black singers to pursue careers in country because the genre has tons of fans who would love to see more artists who look like them in the genre.

"A lot of times, the stereotype is that country music is white guys from the South," Delaware native Allen told Rolling Stone in 2018. "There are country boys everywhere. There's a difference between country and Southern. Southern is the South. Country is everywhere."

"I feel like I have an obligation as a Black man in country music to show other people that look like me that, 'Hey, it's cool,'" he added. "A lot of times we're more confident to jump into something when you see other people that look like us. Tons of Black people love and grew up on country music, but a lot of times it's hard to kind of step out as a Black country artist because nobody looks like you."

"Why Things Happen" Lyrics:

You'll never know when your last breath's
Gonna fade like a July sunset
Or how a tragedy like gravity holds you still
While the world keeps spinnin'

It's hard not to question circumstances
That leave you with nothin' to say
Is there some kind of message, some kind of lesson?
Damn, life's hard to explain

Oh God, tell me why things happen
Things happen like they do
Leave you thinking 'bout how time leaves you
It gets you all confused
In the blink of a moment, gone before you know it
Hits you right out of the blue
Wonderin' why things happen
Things happen like they do, yeah

How a child that's just been named
Can then be pulled from the arms of a mother
Or a cross on the side of a two-lane road
Holds the memory of somebody's brother
You try not to question God and his judgment
But damn it, I don't understand

Somebody tell me why things happen
Things happen like they do
Leaves you thinking 'bout how time leaves you
It gets you all confused
In the blink of a moment, gone before you know it
Hits you right out of the blue
You got me wonderin' why things happen
Things happen like they do, oh

Your heart keeps on beatin'
Through all of those feelings
That you thought you'd never get through
There must be a reason our eyes are not seein'
Everything we want them to
So tell me why things happen, yeah, yeah, yeah

So tell me why things happen
Things happen like they do (like they do)
Leaves you thinking 'bout how time leaves you (leaves you thinking)
It gets you all confused (yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
In the blink of a moment, gone before you know it (like nothin')
Hits you right out of the blue (hits you right out of the blue)
Wonderin' why things happen
Things happen like they do (things happen, things happen)

Oh, yeah
Do, yeah
Yeah

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Jimmie Allen's 'Why Things Happen' is a Powerful and Moving Collaboration Among Three Generations