In "Night Train," Accidental Katie Larson sings about riding a train across the United States, meeting people along the way, and contemplating the future of the nation. These simple things were given extra emotional weight by the time when they were written and recorded, as The Accidentals brought the song to life during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
From the depths of social isolation, the simple joy of friendly encounters with strangers became something profound, and the future of the world did indeed look highly uncertain.
While Larson sings the song into life, the train-ride story is actually from co-writer Dar Williams
, who had been a notable singer-songwriter since the 1990s. The Accidentals and Williams first met while playing the Sisters Folk Festival and then ran into her repeatedly afterwards. That eventually led to co-writing "Night Train" over Zoom.
"We just kept running into each other," Accidentals frontwoman Sav Buist told Songfacts
. "Some things just happen the way they are meant to happen. The co-write was a lot like that."