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  • Writer's pictureGloria Tang

Cary Shields New Single 'Run Rabbit'

Cary Shields’ “Run Rabbit” is a bit folk-blues, a bit country and a bit rockabilly. It’s built around a tasty acoustic guitar part. The track also includes standup bass and some sparse drumming. There is a choir-like backing vocal, as well. Furthermore, banjo comes in along the way. It’s very much an enjoyable roots rock tune, featuring multiple sonic elements.

Listen to 'Run Rabbit' here:

The first thought that comes to mind when looking at this song’s title is John Updike’s 1960 novel Rabbit, Run. This song is not at all the same story, though, as that book detailed three months in a 26-year-old former high school baseball player’s life. When Shields sings, “Wash your hands, keep your distance,” it’s clear Shields is referencing strange life during the pandemic. Perhaps he’s comparing this pandemic life to that of a scared rabbit. There was a time, remember, when the pandemic had us basically running scared – like frightened bunnies. This was before there was a vaccine and we lived in fear that if we touched the wrong thing or an infected person breathed on us, we’d be doomed. Now with the vaccine, we can – no pun intended – breathe a lot easier.

Shields appropriately uses old timey folk sounds to tell his story. His approach is much like Woody Guthrie, who sang the news back to us in the ‘30s and 40s (and beyond). His was also a similar plainspoken approach to describing his life and times. It’s necessary for musicians to chronicle the world events of their/our lifetime. Sure, there are news reports, and also far too many social media postings, but music creates a kind of time capsule for generations to come. Many of us learned about the Dust Bowl era from listening to Woody Guthrie – probably more so than we ever learned in high school history. Bruce Springsteen, a huge Guthrie fan, once sang, “We learned more from a three-minute record, baby, than we ever learned in school.” That’s not to put down education, but is, instead, meant to highlight just how essential music is to reflecting human history.

This song is sung with plenty of empathy. Shields is singing about himself as much as he’s singing to others. We all lived those weird days of the pandemic. He’s just expressing these emotions in song form.

Stylistically, this track incorporates a bunch of different styles. Although bluegrass doesn’t traditionally include drums, this song nevertheless sounds very bluegrass-y – especially its banjo and speedy acoustic guitar. The Southern gospel-esque vocals may remind you of The Jordanaires when backing up Elvis Presley.

This rabbit is admonished to get home safe in the song. Sad that we were almost literally running for our lives for a while. Most of us ended up alright, but we all have friends and loved ones that didn’t make it all the way though.

One day in the future we’ll look back at songs like “Run Rabbit” and be glad we survived the curse of Covid. Even now, as so many restrictions are being removed, we’re feeling less like escaping rabbits and more like regular humans. Let’s hope this song’s subject matter will be the stuff of history, and never repeated again. Let’s hope we can leave the running for their lives to the rabbits – permanently.


-Dan MacIntosh


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