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The Band Perry – Gentle On My Mind lyrics

It's knowing that your door is always open
And your path is free to walk
That makes me tend to leave my sleeping bag
Rolled up and stashed behind your couch
And it's knowing I'm not shackled
By forgotten words and bonds
And the ink stains that are dried upon some line
That keeps you in the backroads
By the rivers of my memory
That keeps you ever gentle on my mind

It's not clinging to the rocks and ivy
Planted on their columns now that bind me
Or something that somebody said
Because they thought we fit together walking
It's just knowing that the world will not be cursing
Or forgiving when I walk along some railroad track and find
That you're moving on the backroads
By the rivers of my memory
And for hours you're just gentle on my mind

Though the wheat fields and the clothes lines
And the junkyards and the highways come between us
And some other woman's crying to her mother
Cause she turned and I was gone
I still might run in silence tears of joy might stain my face
And the summer sun might burn me til I'm blind
But not to where I cannot see you walking on the backroads
By the rivers flowing gentle on my mind

I dip my cup of soup back from a gurglin
Crackling caldron in some train yard
My beard a rustling, cold towel, and
A dirty hat pulled low across my face
Through cupped hands round the tin can
I pretend to hold you to my breast and find
That you're waiting from the backroads
By the rivers of my memories
Ever smiling ever gentle on my mind

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    This is an old favorite - it's a gentle folk melody. The singer is a wanderer, a man who cannot settle down. He lives a nomad life and is alone most of the time. He sees a side of life that is not very pretty. He seems to live from day to day, not having or wanting much. He is a drifter. Maybe he does not want to settle down. But there is loneliness in his lyrics - maybe a touch of regret. This is who he is. He is not fit or suited to any permanent relationship. He wants no "chains to bind me". And once, maybe long ago, he found such a relationship, but moved on anyway. The woman lives in his memory and he thinks of her often. He does not go back to seek her. I don't think he even knows why that is. Maybe he has nothing to offer her. But when he thinks of her, and whatever they shared, his mind is soothed and being "gentle on my mind" means that he has no bitterness, mistrust, betrayal, in his memories of her. In his memory, which is probably distorted over time, this woman grows more and more gentle and generous, and he uses the memory to comfort himself. He may miss her, but not enough to change his wandering life-style. Is he not good enough for her? Was she married to another? The relationship did not last - except in his mind. Does she remember him? Does she wish he would come back to her? Since the song is written from his point of view we have no idea. Nor do we know how close these two people were, how intimate, how long they were together. He may have just known her briefly, or not known her really at all. She is an image that stabilizes him to a point. But he does not go back to find her or what he lost. I find that I resent him, and feel that he is a bit selfish. He will keep this rather worthless life-style and keep her close only in his imagination. I wonder what she remembers about him? The sense of "too late" permeates this song. Of giving up. Of assuming there is no sense starting over, searching for any good relationship. This seems a bit selfish of him.
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