Brandy Clark sends a sad prayer skyward with “Since You’ve Gone to Heaven,” recasting herself as a member of broken family that has just lost its patriarch. Already one of the most intimate songs on the songwriter’s recently released Big Day in a Small Town, the tune receives a stark, stripped-down treatment via this live performance, which finds Clark strumming her acoustic guitar alone.
“The banks are taking over; half the town is in foreclosure,” she sings during the song’s second half, painting the picture of a city that, like many of its residents, has seen better days. Backed by a straightforward finger-plucked pattern on Clark’s guitar, “Since You’ve Gone to Heaven” is a moving ballad on Big Day in a Small Town, flying in the face of recent country songs that glorify the simplicity of small Southern towns.
Here, that small town feels more like a dead end, recently robbed of one of its strongest natives. It’s melancholic and moving in the same breath, and the black and white camerawork — which captures Clark in the recording studio, performing by herself — only highlights the song’s loneliness.