“In Your Shoes (For Daisy)” begins with just piano and Katy Vernon’s vulnerable vocal. This is followed by a guitar backing, underneath Vernon’s singing. Next, the pace is picked up, and Vernon sings it happily.
Vernon sings with joy, but the song has a deeper purpose than merely expressing happiness. The lyric is also about empathy and encouragement. Empathy because she, like Daisy, has had the blues. As R.E.M. once memorably reminded us, everybody hurts. Vernon empathizes with Daisy and has “walked a thousand miles” in her shoes. Empathy is different from sympathy. Sympathy is feeling sorry for another, while empathy is knowing exactly how another person feels because they’ve been there, done that.
This song is also encouraging because Vernon sings it as someone who has gone past feeling blue. Yes, we all suffer in this life, but suffering is just part of our life, not the whole thing. Just as Vernon has walked those thousand miles, her tone of voice expresses how she’s walked past the blues. Knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel, in the form of someone farther down the line than you are, is oh so encouraging.
This recording includes jubilant piano, trumpet and guitar solos. It also has a jazzy, danceable rhythm. Steve Martin, back when he was only a standup comedian, before he was a movie star and a bluegrass musician (at least the serious kind of bluegrass musician) used to demonstrate how it was nearly impossible to be sad when a banjo was played. He was partly right because there are some especially sad bluegrass songs. However, when the banjo is played happily, it’s difficult not to smile. Similarly, the upbeat rhythm for this track is fully intended to propel somebody out of their blue state. Another musical reference is Johnny Cash’s “Get Rhythm.” With that one, Cash advised, “Get rhythm when you get the blues.” Vernon has taken this advice to heart with “In Your Shoes (For Daisy)” by putting a hot stepping beat to her advice. She doesn’t explicitly say to get rhythm when Daisy gets the blues, but the music is already saying so.
Vernon doesn’t tell us much about the specifics of Daisy’s blues. That’s not all that important, though, It’s the principle, more than an exact situation. This leaves the song open to inspire anybody who’s feeling blue. It’s far more universal this way, and more effective.
“In Your Shoes (For Daisy)” is taken from Vernon’s highly entertaining Suit of Hearts album. If you dig a little deeper, you’ll learn how Vernon had a rather difficult upbringing. She chooses not to wallow in the blues, just as she’s advising poor Daisy against remaining under the power of the blues.
“In Your Shoes (For Daisy)” is a purely pleasurable pop song. Sonically, it’s a throwback to parlor pop of yesteryear. Yet, its message is timeless. We all need to be cheered up now and again. This can be anybody’s ‘go to’ song whenever they start feeling down. Get rhythm people, when you get the blues!