Tuesday, June 03, 2008

When Eddie Met Emmy (Emmylou Countdown Continues!)

Part 2 of a series of posts to prepare the way for the release of the new Emmylou Harris CD in June. See Part 1 here.

(Yes, I know the CD drops in a week. Yes, I know I've gotten behind again. oh well...)

It all started with one song, my love of all things Emmylou Harris. Interestingly, it wasn't one of her songs, which is kind of fitting if you start to think about the long history of collaborations she has.

I'm pretty sure I've written about this in the past, but my mother was a huge Linda Ronstadt fan, which meant that I in turn became a Linda Ronstadt fan. In fact, by a the time I was about 13 or 14, I was listening to those albums more than she was. The stereo was in her bedroom, so I had to have permission to listen to them. Sometime after my parents divorce, she sold most of her albums, but she kept the stereo and gave it to me, along with all of her Ronstadt albums.

My favorite Ronstadt album is Prisoner in Disguise, which has some great songs on it. I used to play it over and over and over. One of the songs, a traditional tune called "The Sweetest Gift," had the most beautiful harmony vocals. I asked my mom if she knew who it was, and she gave me the name, Emmylou Harris, but not much else.

Later on, I noticed the same lovely harmonies on other Ronstadt songs: "I Never Will Marry" (from Simple Dreams), "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You)" from Heart Like a Wheel. I was hooked. I had to find out more.

The first ELH solo song I heard was "Two More Bottles of Wine", which actually kind of shocked me a little. My sweet little harmony singer was singing hard-rocking, twangy country drinking songs? What was this? It took a while to grow on me, but it did. Obviously, this was an artist of great versatility, much like Linda Rondstadt.

At some point, the public library began to circulate LP's for patrons to check out. One day, I found Blue Kentucky Girl in the "new arrival" bin. And, that, as they say, was all she wrote. I checked that album out dozens of times and played it endlessly. It remains to this day one of my favorite ELH albums.

There probably isn't a better overview of who Harris is musically than BKG, an amalgam of hard-rocking country, traditional music, old time country, lovely harmonies that all work together because you can feel the love she has for the music in every song. Several of my most favorite ELH songs come from this album. (More on that later.)

BKG burned Emmylou into my brain for sure, and I've been a mad crazy fan ever since!

Next: Emmylou loves other artists!

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

BKG may be the first EH LP I have, and still a favorite though not the earliest I own now. I got to EH via LR as well.
Maybe I'm a gay guy in Kentucky in my 40s. Identity crisis!