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The Highwomen’s Welcoming Truth

New Video for Supergroup’s “Crowded Table” Is a Vision of Inclusiveness

By Annalisha Fragmin

The great country songwriter Harlan Howard once asserted that country music was “three chords and the truth.” At its best, when it’s fulfilling Howard’s promise, country music has been able to reach people from vastly different backgrounds.

The video for “Crowded Table” by The Highwomen offers its truths for many audiences. The lyrics say, “Everyone’s a little broken – and everyone belongs,” and the video drives the point home. So many important bonds are made explicit in here: friends, mother-and-daughter, husband-and-wife, and singers-and-band, for just a few examples. None are prioritized above the others. The warmth of the embraces that occur onscreen is never placed in any type of hierarchy.

So who is welcome at the “house with a crowded table” or the “place by the fire for everyone?” This video makes it clear that all types of families are valid, whether they are blood or chosen families. On top of all this, a video of a friendly gathering while the band members proclaim the desire to always have a crowded table will connect with the loneliness they’ve felt since social distancing became part of our pandemic lifestyle.

“The truth” for many other listeners will involve queer folks cut off from their families, physically, emotionally, or both. That distance may have nothing to do with COVID-19, or it may be even more acutely felt during an uncomfortable quarantine experience with an unwelcoming family.

For those listeners, “Crowded Table” offers a unique hope for the future. Family tables can be crowed with all sorts of important souls, and each of them can be a “mountain when you’re feeling valley-low.” Few country songs have a truth as comforting as that one.