Woodlands native Hayes Carll took home honors for Song of the Year at the Americana Music Association Awards show in Nashville Thursday night. Carll wrote “She Left Me for Jesus” with former Austinite Brian Keane, who relocated to Nashville earlier this year. The song appears on Carll’s 2008 Lost Highway album Trouble in Mind.
Carll is on tour in England and could not be reached for comment.
Carll has encountered some resistance to his song since posting it as a free promotional download on iTunes several months back. He reported the songs was downloaded almost 75,000 times over a 48-hour period. While many people seemed to love the song, there were those who called Carll everything from sacreligious to the anti-Christ.
Carll told this reporter several months ago that “there’s some guy in Kentucky who calls around to all the venues we are scheduled to play and asks them if they know exactly what kind of person they are booking.”
Carll also reported that a few people had approached him in clubs to complain about the song.
“Some even said they were gonna pray for me.”
The song is sung from the point of view of a dumb guy who doesn’t realize exactly who his girlfriend is referring to when she says she is leaving him for Jesus.
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Carll, who began his career at Wrecks Bell's Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe in Galveston and wrote many of the songs on Trouble in Mind at a cabin in the now-devastated Crystal Beach, next appears in Houston January 23 at McGonigel's Mucky Duck.
Below are the lyrics to the AMA Song of the Year:
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We’ve been datin since high school, we never once left this town We used to go out on the weekends and we’d drink til we drowned But now she’s acting funny and I don’t understand I think she’s found her some other man
She left me for Jesus and that just ain’t fair She says that he’s perfect, how could I compare She says I should find him and I’ll know peace at last If I ever find Jesus, I’m kickin’ his ass
She showed me a picture, all I could do was stare At that freak in his sandals with his long pretty hair They must think that I’m stupid or I don’t have a clue I’ll bet he’s a Commie, or even worse a Jew
She’s given up whiskey and taken up wine While she prays for his troubles she’s forgot about mine I’m a-gonna get even, I can’t handle the shame Why last time we made she even called out his name
It coulda been Carlos or even Billy Ortez But if I ever find Jesus he’s gonna wish he was dead A-men.
- William Michael Smith