Despite changes in the country/folk genre over the decades, one thing that can be said is that it’s always been music with personality. Usually employing simple instrumentation so as not to draw attention away from the story being told, these songs have always been an interesting portal into the lives of the people who are singing them. With these attributions fully thought out and put into place, Juni Habel has successfully crafted a wonderful folk song with “Run Dry.”
Starting off with a soft finger-picking pattern on an acoustic guitar, the song immediately paints pictures of sunsets in your mind. After the brief introduction, Juni Habel begins singing to someone with a country twang in her voice, as if she is trying to have a heart-to-heart conversation with them. Whomever she is singing to seems to be having troubles with their love life, “Check your heart and let it dry in your hand / Chance you had will never come back again.” The melody quickly switches up, showcasing Habel’s ability to craft melodies without effort and keep the song interesting.
She continues on, “‘Cause each time you tried, you wouldn’t know for sure / You couldn’t see what it all was for.” Clearly, despite putting some effort into it before, this person could never truly feel confident in themselves. Still trying to help them out, Habel explains, “I tried to explain, I tried to give some advice.” However, she acknowledges that she was never entirely certain of how to handle the situation, “But each time I tried, I wouldn’t know what to say / And I didn’t notice you just look the other way.”
The chorus presents us with yet another melody, which is boosted by a stringed instrument as well as some vocal harmonies. During this part of the song, Habel takes a moment to emphasize the fact that no matter what, she will continue trying to help this person, “But I won’t stop until my veins run dry / For a minute I thought I saw a spark in your eye.” Even though this person has difficulty seeing the good in situations and can sometimes be overwhelmed with everything so much as to ignore Habel’s advice, Habel still sometimes sees that old happy soul in their eyes. I believe that at this point, we see a bit of a perspective switch with the lyrics, “Whispering so soothing, begging so truly / Why won’t you just leave me alone?”
With this new verse, we also have a fuller sounding instrumental with finger snaps and more stringed instruments. Continuing with the changed perspective, we now see that instead of Habel singing to this person, they are now singing back at her, “Used to hide an eagerness to press on / I thought it’d come back one day, but now it’s gone.” This person knows how it feels to be happy, as they used to feel it. On top of this, they even held out hope for a while that the feeling would return, but it never has. Continuing on, the person explains, “You think life has more to give, but I don’t / I’ve run out of chances / Trains to jump on.” Feeling as if they are at the end of their willingness to go on, Habel jumps back in with the words she previously sang in the last chorus. She reaffirms that she will not give up on this person.
After this chorus, we are treated to a lovely instrumental section of strings to send the song off. A small yet wonderful sounding song, “Run Dry” checks off all the marks for a successful singer/songwriter folk song. With lyrics which are relatable and sung in a storytelling style, it is easy to follow along. Even with a change in perspective, which can sometimes be difficult to properly portray in a song, everything comes off as easily understandable. This songwriting combined with the simple percussion of finger snaps and tambourine hits, as well as occasional flares from stringed instruments, creates a nice backdrop for the lyrics which are being held up by it.