“Splish splash / Here we go / I’ve got a hand to hold / Thank God / I know / I’m not alone.” So goes one of the early lines in Jerry Leger’s new single “Have You Ever Been Happy,” sung along to an upbeat melody that recalls 1970s singer-songwriters and Great Lake Swimmers’ breezier tunes. To get the full experience of this road trip-playlist-worthy song, I would encourage listeners to watch the music video, set in a ‘50s-era 5-pin bowling alley, with Jerry and his bandmates simply having a great time together.
In a time when society is slowly recuperating from a two-year pandemic slog, the opening line, “Break in the new world / But let me keep my job,” delivered in a hopeful way is refreshing. Leger is taking the mixed bag that we’ve all experienced in recent times and, in response, is willing to have a bright outlook and a willingness to laugh at himself. In the second verse, he confesses, “Something made me laugh / But the punchline was me / Took too long to find out / What we take seriously / And what’s a joke.” Leger’s voice carries a wistfulness, but also an optimism, and backing vocalist Angie Hilts’ harmonies and accents bring a heartening boost.
Especially for those who catch the video, the last verse mention of “mashing bowling pins” – an on-the-nose moment, to be sure – suggests a cathartic release in an effort to have some fun in the midst of circumstances where that isn’t easy. The song has a jangly and fun feel that belies the title – perhaps to pose “Have you ever been happy?” as a rhetorical question, reminding the listener of good times, of friends – and prompting the listener to answer “yes.”
***Admin Update*** Prior to the posting of this article, Jerry Leger shared another new video just yesterday in support of his latest single release, titled “Underground Blues.” This animated video has been added for your enjoyment too, and both tracks are set to appear on Jerry’s upcoming “Nothing Pressing” album, out on March 16th via Latent Recordings.
Photo Credit: Laura Proctor