Unless you’ve served in the military during wartime, it’s difficult — actually, it’s impossible — to even imagine what those brave service members are enduring on a daily basis. Even when those courageous defenders of our freedom tell their stories, unless you’re there, it’s difficult to fully appreciate what their life was like while serving, often for an extended amount of time.
Ruston Kelly’s new song, “1000 Graves,” isn’t specifically directed at soldiers who may have post-traumatic stress disorder, but it is filled with the angst of someone struggling with inner demons. And when video directors Stephen Kinigopoulos and Alexa King heard the lyrics, they decided to dig deeper into that darkness and explore a subject that may be a little more difficult to process.
The video for “1000 Graves” follows a female soldier who appears to be reluctantly returning to her home and family following her deployment to an undisclosed location. Although she is warmly and lovingly welcomed back home, as the story unfolds, we find that while deployed, she fell in love with a fellow soldier.
The story continues with the young woman withdrawing from her family, enduring sleepless nights riddled with bad dreams and night terrors, and spending time either in bars or in her military sweats running and painfully remembering her troop, her love and the war. We also learn the source of her PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is very complex, because not only did this brave young woman suffer the terror of war, but she also lost the soldier that she loved. While she returned home from the battlefield, he did not.
The beautiful soldier’s run takes her into a military cemetery, similar to Arlington, where she apparently knows her beloved soldier rests. Flashing between images of her holding the dying man and staring at his final marker, the story becomes even more clear.
And what happens next is a jarring enough that it could shake you to your core.
The song, “1000 Graves,” is from Ruston’s 2017 EP, “Halloween.” Some may know Ruston as Kacey Musgraves’ new husband, but the singer-songwriter has been in Nashville for some time, playing local clubs and collaborating with the city’s rich and diverse songwriting community. His songs have been recorded by other artists, including Tim McGraw and hot Texas act Josh Abbott Band, and his sound is one part Americana, one part roots rock, and a generous helping of country, much like that of Chris Stapleton.
Much like his wife, Ruston is plotting a busy 2018 to help promote his music. While Kacey is out with Little Big Town on “The Breakers Tour”, and then with pop star Harry Styles, Ruston will be hitting the road, first with Red Dirt artist John Moreland and then with singer-songwriter Brian Fallon.
An extensive list of tour dates and ticket information is available on Ruston’s website.