Luke Spehar’s “The Farmer” is a pretty, soft, finger-picked tune. It comes from the album The Pilgrim.
This single plays out like the soundtrack to the story of a farmer. It’s also written like a prayer. The character in the song simply wants to farm his land successfully. He asks not for riches and fame, but for the necessities of life.
This farmer is described as a hard worker, who rises “before the dawn” to work his fields. It’s a solitary man’s story, as he does a job involving only himself and the elements.
The lyric can be taken as one farmer’s story, it’s true. It can also be and extended allegory. Spehar is a spiritual man, and his album The Pilgrim may be a tip of the hat to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. Furthermore, there is a possible Biblical parallel to Jesus’ parable about the sower and the seeds. Jesus compared the seeking and saving of souls to a farmer planting and harvesting crops. The work of a true believer can be compared to that of a farmer and his crops.
At one point, Spehar sings: “Someday the rain will fall/These seeds will grow/And the harvest will come.” This can be taken as a literal hopeful prediction about an actual farm, or it could be about the saving of souls. Then again, it can be taken as hard work paying off in almost any type of endeavor. If we put our minds and bodies to a task, eventually we will succeed.
There’s a wonderful Peter Sellers film called Being There, where Sellers plays a simpleton gardener who befriends the president of the United States. When this gardener explains his life work, that of tending a garden, the president reads far too much into these uncomplicated words. This gardener is merely explaining what he does as a vocation, but the president thinks he’s hearing a deep, philosophical metaphor. The point being, sometimes listeners hear what they want to hear. One can take Spehar’s song as a straightforward farmer’s tale, or as a word picture parable. No matter how you want to interpret it, though, it’s a beautiful, peaceful piece of music.