Borrowing: Wandering Shepherd, by Dan Fogelberg

The late Dan Fogelberg is underrated among singer/songwriters, but a few of you might recall songs like the wedding hit “Longer” and the understated chart-topper “Leader of the Band.” He was a powerful influence on Michael Card, and you can easily hear the stylistic resemblance.

Although most of Fogelberg’s music would fall firmly into the realm of pop (with the occasion folk or rock tinge), he made one album called High Country Snows where he took a shot at bluegrass music. With original songs and a stellar supporting cast of musicians and vocalists including such luminaries as Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Douglas and Vince Gill, it was a lovely piece of work. One track that stood out to me was the simple folk tune “Wandering Shepherd.” Even though it was a new song penned just for the album, it nonetheless has a timeless quality, reminiscent of songs like “Poor Wayfaring Stranger.”

In my ears, I hear the unmistakable harmonies of the Isaacs taking this song to a whole new level. What do my readers think?


3 thoughts on “Borrowing: Wandering Shepherd, by Dan Fogelberg

  1. Lydia

    Yes, I can hear the Isaacs doing it. I like it, except that the one major chord came as something of a shock every time. That’s probably just my ignorant ear. I think that type of chord is not atypical for the genre. However, I am a bit puzzled by the words. It sounds sort of like, “Come unto me all ye that are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” But the part about a pilgrim taking a rest and about a homeless believer finding himself a home was a bit odd. Usually Christian songs about wandering and being a pilgrim imply that the home is heaven rather than urging the hearer to find himself a home and take his rest right now.

    1. It felt right to me. I don’t know if that means I’m less ignorant or if I’m more ignorant and it should feel wrong. 😀

      You’re right, the words are a little puzzling. The way I would take it is that the believers and pilgrims are weary and possibly lonely on their journey, but if they take their burdens to Jesus, they can rest along the way. But “finding a home” I agree doesn’t sound quite right. “You may be lonely, but never alone…” put together with that line, it almost sounds like welcoming somebody to a church. That could possibly explain other parts of the song as well. But I do agree that the symbolism isn’t perfectly complementary everywhere.

  2. lee65

    Very good !!! I have this in my collection and have always enjoyed it.
    I also have an albumn by Neil Young where he took a stab at a bluegrass/ country style and it’s pretty good too. I’d love to hear The Isaacs do it. I beleive it could work as gospel.

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