Song of the Day: Ben Shive


I’m happy to present to you a song from Ben Shive’s upcoming The Ill-Tempered Klavier. The album is nearing completion, and “S” is next in line for the song of the day, so Ben agreed to let us post this one. It’s called ’97, a song about the year his older brother went away to college. Beautiful, sad, and melodic, oh my.

Words and Music by Ben Shive

The year my brother went away
The song got sad
And I woke up one day
Feeling so funny I forgot to laugh

Like I was all up in my head
With no way out
And sad for nothing, just sad
Every day was down

It happened overnight

The flier on the wall said:
Do you feel nothing at all?
And do you wonder if you’re even real?

Well my feelings exactly
‘Cause where was the old me
Who used to be happy
Who used to think he was okay?

It happened overnight

And a little girl was taken
We tied a ribbon around the tree
And the search went on for ages
While the search went on for me

And I thought about her mother
There was nothing she could do
Cause she couldn’t go back and she couldn’t go on
And God only knew where her baby had gone

The year my brother went away
And the song got sad
Everything changed
And we could never go back

Yeah, everything changes, everything dies
The year my brother went away
It happened overnight

Andrew Peterson is a singer-songwriter and author. Andrew has released more than ten records over the past twenty years, earning him a reputation for songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. As an author, Andrew’s books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga, released in collectible hardcover editions through Random House in 2020, and his creative memoir, Adorning the Dark, released in 2019 through B&H Publishing.


  1. whipple

    The last time I heard a song from this album was when Ben played “Old Man” in the intimate embrace of the now-defunct New City Cafe in Knoxville. I heard potential, I heard the beautiful quirkiness and the sound of love rupturing in on estrangement.

    I can’t tell you how glad I am to hear the fruit ripen from the many moons worth of work that have gone into this record. I’m reeling a little from drinking that one in. I think I’d like another sip…

  2. Paul Holderman

    There is a time of day, somewhere between sunset and night time that is magical, and enchanting. When I worked in restaurants, I noticed it to be real and how it affected people and me. It is so wonderful, tangible, and fleeting. It is called Twilight

    I discovered one day that songwriting and music can recreate that time of day and it’s feeling. The first one who did for me was Leigh Nash’s voice when she was with SPNR. Not many since then, 2 or 3, one being some Norah Jones songs.

    Ben, this one did for me. Excellent song with alot of emotion.

    Thanks for sharing

  3. Curan

    Wow!!!! Haunting!!

    If only these Cds are available here in the Philippines. All i got from square Pegs are itunes MP4 and some mp3s.

    The only square pegs i got on cd is andrew’s The Far Country and Jill’s first Cd when the ship Doulos visited our country…

    im a CD collector and its always nice to show some hard material to the peers rather than some lousy Apple iPods.huhuhuhuh

  4. John Barber

    Oh boy, I can’t wait until Tuesday! Ben, this song is spectacular. Really moving and sad. It has a hint of Ben Gibbard, but far less prententious (although I do love that Ben, too).

    I really think the album is going to be successful for you. It’s been a long time coming, but I’m sure it will have been worth the wait!

  5. Jeff Cope

    Wow. This song hits home.

    This August is the 20th anniversary of the passing of my older brother who died at a way too young 33 years of age. The song got sad, indeed, when he went away. It’s so hard to comprehend that it’s been 20 years already as it seems like yesterday.

    When life takes those unexpected turns everything does change and there truly is no going back.

    Thanks for this taste of Ben’s album. Looking forward to the whole thing.

  6. Peter B

    Paul, that’s a very astute observation. I think I know what you mean. Interestingly enough, my friend-brother (my kids call him Uncle Paul) went away with his last year; this captures a little of that for me.

    Ben, thank you for building this. AP, thank you for doing the SOTD and the rest of the RR; I hope to see any and all of you in concert soon.

  7. Tom

    One of Oswald Chambers’ devotions in “My Utmost For His Highest” speaks of the opening sentence of Isaiah 6, “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord…” He points out how sometimes in our lives, the things we look to for our stability or security have to be taken away in order for us to see where our true security lies. It is our true King who holds the world together, and in Him that “we live and move and find our being”.
    This song really brought that thought home for me again. Not that we are so bad for feeling secure when things are going great and so lost when things go nuts, but it is good for us to be shaken. It is for our good that things of earth fail us, that people move away, that our bubble bursts sometimes because it is in these moments that we realize so profoundly that we have absolutely nowhere else to turn but to Christ. And when has he ever failed us?
    Thanks for the song, Ben. I needed it tonight. Can’t wait to hear the rest of the album.

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