By Mya Byrne, Staff Writer
Typically we don’t feature music by straight artists, but when we heard Paul Cardall’s story, we jumped at the opportunity to premiere his new song, “Some Kind of Wonderful,” co-written and sung with Ty Herndon, from Cardall’s upcoming album The Broken Miracle. You may have read about Cardall, pianist and songwriter, in our piece on Herndon’s holiday song “Orphans of God”. If you don’t recognize the name, you may recognize the music — it’s been streamed over 3 billion times, has 30 million monthly listeners, and accounts for 11 #1 albums on the Billboard New Age chart.
Cardall is an ex-Mormon, so the pairing of him and queer artists might raise a question—where does his allyship come from?
“When I first moved to Nashville from Salt Lake City,” he tells CQ, “One of the first big stars I was fortunate to meet was Ty. One of the reasons Ty wanted me to perform with him was because of my influence in Utah and our hopes to sway a culture to accept LGBTQ+ rights. My best friend, Chris Beers, who we both once worked together at BYU during the summer, ended his life because his lifestyle was not accepted by the faith of our heritage.”
This, among other incidents in Cardall’s life, has led him to focus his work and faith on making the world a better place, especially for queer and trans folks, as he makes crystal clear on the song’s core message: “You are some kind of wonderful / Some kind of beautiful in ways you haven’t seen just yet… / You are some kind of miracle.”
And talking of miracles: born with a congenital heart condition, Cardall received a transplant in 2009. What a blessing to have someone dedicating his miraculous life to service within the country community, to advocate for all queer people! There’s a lot of love behind this song, and I’m getting goosebumps just writing these words down.
Ty Herndon has a special message and long-distance dedication: “I’m so honored and humbled to join Paul Cardall for this powerful song. We had the privilege of performing this for LGBTQ+ youth at the LoveLoud Festival in Utah, and as I sang the lyrics, you could see their eyes light up with hope and pride. I dedicate my performance on this track to anyone out there who has ever felt like they were anything less than wonderful. This is for them.”
I’ll admit to getting teary-eyed on the bridge, which speaks of and beyond queer and trans lives to our current times, to all those being themselves in a world full of splinters: “Don’t let the hatred make your heart broken / Bring your heart out into the open… / You’re not lost and never Godforsaken”. It’s a beautiful, uplifting song and message, and a gorgeous collaboration of friends. And the conversational piano and violin that soar alongside Ty’s voice make for a song that goes beyond the personal into the universal. Somehow, they’ve managed to write a country power ballad, and that’s no small feat.
I’ll conclude with a final note from Paul: “My hope with ‘Some Kind Of Wonderful’ is that it can inspire people, and that music does shape your thoughts and better action to love. There’s not one person, no matter who they are, where they come from, that isn’t welcome at my table.”
Thank you, Paul and Ty, for bringing this incredible song and intention to Country Queer and giving us the privilege to premiere it.
The Broken Miracle drops on all streaming services February 5.