One acoustic note, followed by two more... tik-tok, back and forth. Foreboding, taut, there’s a tension even before the rattlesnake shaker percussion starts and fades. Not a word sung, not a sense of build, yet the few stark measures let you know.

The voice that breaks that spell is splintered wood, soaked in turpentine. Tough, maybe. Strong. A man, exhausted and resolved, intones:

I got turned around in some little town I’d never been to before Workin’ my way through a middle of June midnight thunderstorm...

Nasal, almost a bray, he’s explaining. We’ve all been lost in a storm. Squinting to keep it on the road, something up ahead slows the singer down. A dog? A deer? No, a battered woman covered in bruises and blood, shirt torn; almost too scared to speak. What’s a Southern boy to do?

He tells her to get into his truck, knowing full well this kind of thing happens all the time. Ensconced in the dry, unsure what to do, HARDY drops the brick of what spousal battery creates—She didn’t tell the whole truth, but she didn’t have to/ I knew what had happened to her—before delivering perhaps the most eviscerating line of mercy ever tendered:

I didn’t load her down with questions The girl had been through enough.

Spousal abuse. Domestic violence. Wife-beating. It’s ugly and uglier. But if you don’t look it in the eye, call it what it really is, it’s easy to awkwardly shrug your shoulders and keep walking. For the woman, who’d run into the streets desperate to stay alive, she didn’t think, didn’t expect anyone would come. Out in the storm was better than being trapped with a nasty, angry man who thought she was a punching bag.

You can think that you know, that you understand. But it’s another thing when you actually see someone small busted up by a much bigger person. Staggering, even fear-inducing. As the pause and rush of anger floods HARDY, Lainey Wilson, who’s quickly becoming country’s stealth secret weapon, emerges from the mix, strong enough to take it, overwhelmed as someone actually appears and unsure of all that transpired.

With a voice that’s salty, redolent of twang and sadness, she wrings that counter-verse out:

I don’t know if he’s an angel, ‘cause angels don’t do what he did
He was hellbent to find the man behind all the whiskey scars I hid...”

When you lose hope, you believe no one’s coming for you. It’s easier to walk past, then to try to help. Songs about domestic violence don’t feel good. The Chicks played with humor to make the bitter go down and hope some truth stuck with “Good-Bye Earl.” Garth Brooks offered arena rock bravura on the initially CMT:Country Music Television banned “The Thunder Rolls.” Even Miranda Lambert brought full-force blister and first person vengeance to “Gunpowder & Lead.”

Wilson’s “first person” offers a different perspective, that of too many battered women: the ones who can’t see their way out. The disbelief twisted with relief is palpable, as she sings, “I never thought my day of justice would come from a judge under his seat, but I knew right then I’d never get hit again when he said to me... Wait in the Truck/Just Wait in the Truck...”

HARDY is first person, too. The person who’s not walking on, who responds – and who tells the story from a place that isn’t making excuses. It’s a rough story, a real life most nice white Christian people want to act like doesn’t exist. Except, of course, it does.

It’s quite a performance. There’s not even remorse if you listen as the verses spill out, and the verses are brutal. HARDY kicks in a double wide door, goes for the man intent on giving him a taste of his own medicine. That’s implied. But the gun shot, the blast that takes the guy out as he reaches for a 12-gauge shotgun, those lyrics leave little to the imagination.

In a world that pornographizes violence, it comes to this. The song’s narrator knows what he’s done. Puts his pistol in plain view, fires up one of the guy’s cigarettes – and waits. He lets the young woman Wait in the Truck, knowing someone cared enough to make it stop. Someone told me, “The video’s rough.” You see the scramble through the trailer, the pistol pointed, the flash. Think about how it looks to the women trapped with these men who destroy their self-respect, break down their ability to run, waiting for the next drunken pounding.

Other than a gospel chorus that swells up after that final verse, wailing ,“Have mercy, have mercy, have mercy on me...,” HARDY plays the music subdued. He lets the voice of the man serving time for the cold-blooded killing, and the young woman who still comes to see him sixty months after it all went down, set the tone.

Chilling in its performance, “Truck” is the kind of Song of the Year that throws a knife through a life-defining moment. Most SOTYs are yearning, some hopeful. “Wait in the Truck” is plain-spoken consequence for unthinkable action; a man who had no reason to get involved steps up to make it stop.

Is this good crisis resolution? Perhaps not. Could it force people to face some menacing facts of life? Let’s hope so.