Out of all of the fantastic songs in Charles Wesley Godwin‘s deep discography, Cranes of Potter stands out as one of the most captivating and chill-inducing of them all. The post-Civil War murder ballad is a classic in the making for Godwin, detailing a deadly love triangle with fantastic imagery and world-building throughout.
In an exclusive interview with Country Chord, Godwin discussed the real-world origins of the song and the inspiration behind it. The story begins with him being captivated by the landscape of Beaver County, Pennsylvania, “It was kind of like sparked by reality. There’s a shell cracker plant along the Ohio River in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. It’s in Potter Township. And I was driving by years ago when it was under construction and it had a skyline of cranes unlike anything I’d seen. It looked like they were building Manhattan at the same time. And it was this unique point in time where it just looked so striking. I got to the studio and asked the guys that they were building it told me about the plant, it’s a natural gas facility.“
Later, however, Godwin realized that there was more to Beaver County than meets the eye, “There’s an interesting story in the paper where a body was found when they were breaking ground for part of this place. And they called the police out, and the police processed the scene. And everybody was kind of under the assumption that it might be a cold case or something like that. So they were treating it like a crime scene. And they sent the body back, it was just bones, to whoever dates them and kind of tries to get information, DNA stuff out. And they found out as somebody lived over 150 years ago.“
Hearing the story of the recovered body quickly inspired Godwin to pick up a pen and start writing the track, “I think that’s all I knew at that point and just kind of took it from there and made up the story about who that might be and how they got there and came up with what became like Claire’s story.”
Listen to Cranes of Potter below and click on the Youtube video above to watch the interview.