'Miss America' Is the Kind of Wistful Patriotism We Need This Independence Day

Independence Day should always fill us with pride for the country that God blessed us to live in. Sometimes it isn’t always easy to swell with pride for America. Take the last couple of years, for example. The Biden administration has diminished this nation on the world stage and has made life at home ever more difficult for all of us.

But we still love America because we know what she has been and what she’s capable of. A new song from a promising young country group reminds us of that.

The Castellows are a neo-traditional country trio from Georgia. Ellie, Powell, and Lily Balkcom — Castellow is their great-grandmother’s maiden name — grew up on a cattle farm in rural West Georgia, and they have remained true to their roots. Even though the sisters have moved off the farm and up to Nashville, they’re still about family and making terrific music — and I believe they’re about to take the world by storm.

I have “Producer Jim,” who handles all the production tasks for our podcasts and live chats, to thank for turning me onto their music. These three sisters make the kind of harmonies that only siblings can create, and their new single “Miss America” is just what we need this Independence Day.

The band admits that the song is more love letter than lament, but one can’t help but think of it as a bittersweet celebration of the country.

The first verse aptly describes America as the kind of wide-eyed, optimistic youth for whom all good things were possible:

She was some kind of renegade born on a summer day, fireworks in her eyes

She was wild child, seventeen, growin’ up evergreen, headed west for the big sky

Little brown-eyed blue jean baby in a pink house pretty as a daisy

She got a rocky mountain high and left a few roots behind

The second verse gives us small-town imagery that evokes the ideal American life that eventually went wrong:

Yeah, I can see her with her hair down rolling through my hometown after a football game

I can hear her in a hay field singin’ with the whip-or-wills, and I kinda hate the way

She ran away and got a little bit older, got a big city chip on her shoulder

That ain’t the way that she was raised. What can I say?

The chorus addresses the concerns that all of us patriotic Americans have about the nation today, albeit in a wistful, poetic way:

But I miss America on the front porch

Before she ever had to lock her doors

When she was still outspoken

Back before her heart got broken. 

I miss America, bare feet in the dirt 

John 3:16

Wasn’t scared to work 

And they all dreamed of her

She’s mine and I still love her

But I miss America

“Miss America” is the kind of song we need this Independence Day holiday. It’s lovely and thoughtful. It remembers what America was, could be again, and should be.

Stream “Miss America” this holiday, or better yet, buy it. While you’re at it, check out the rest of these ladies’ incredible music.

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