Song of the Day: Ben Shive


I get weepy every time I listen to this song. Before the record came out I was listening to this song in the car with Ben and said something like, “Oh, man! The nostalgic music fits the sentiment of the lyric so perfectly! It’s like the two things just” (I clapped my hands) “chonk together!” It was the best I could come up with, fer-klempt as I was.

So here it is, a song from The Ill-Tempered Klavier chosen in light of our recent holiday, “4th of July”.

Words and Music by Ben Shive

The first star of the evening
Was singing in the sky
High above our blanket in the park

And by the twilight’s gleaming
On the 4th day of July
The city band played on into the dark

And then a canon blast
A golden flame unfolding
Exploded in a momentary bloom

The pedals fell and scattered
Like ashes on the ocean
As another volley burst into the blue

But the first star of the evening never moved

We stood in silence
The young ones and the old
As the bright procession passed us by

A generation dying
Another being born
A long crescendo played out in the sky


This nation, indivisible
Will perish from the Earth
As surely as the leaves must change and fall

And the band will end the anthem
To dust she will return
So the sun must set on all things, great and small

But the first star of the evening
Will outlive them all

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. lyndsay

    this is my favorite song!! no wait, it’s old man. no, rise up! no my favorite is definitely nothing for the ache. i meant she is the rising sun. oh brother! they’re ALL my favorites!!

  2. Johnny

    Is there a place where you can read the lyrics to all the songs on this album? I’m really glad I bought it and I really want to know the words.

  3. Simon

    I played and sang this song for the offertory in church last Sunday. There’s such a wonderful pregnant so-much-bigger-than-we-are pause just before the final words of the last line “…will outlive them all.” Many people were deeply moved by this haunting and hopeful song. Thanks, Ben.

  4. Peter B

    Those are the alternate lyrics 🙂

    Seriously, I have to echo Lyndsay’s “which one is my favorite” conundrum. What a great body of work.

    I will never watch a fireworks display the same way again.

  5. elijah

    This and “Nothing For The Ache” are my favorites. Thank you, Ben. This whole album was worth every month (year) of waiting.

  6. Ryan

    As we went out to the beach here in Sarasota, FL to watch the fireworks last Friday, I was singing this song over and over again in my head. And, as the fireworks were exploding in front of me, I looked out to the west, over the Gulf of Mexico, to see a dark sky filled with stars. Ben leaves us a simple yet profound reminder that this great nation, this world, are not the end. What a song! What an album!

  7. Josiah

    thank you so much, Ben! i’m so glad to have your music. i hope to buy your album soon. 🙂

    God Bless

  8. Sydney Rovik

    Awesome song, beautiful lyrics, sets my gaze on God today – ‘The first star of the evening will outlive them all!”

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