Saturday, June 18, 2016
My blog would be incomplete if I didn't address the influence Emmylou Harris has had on my life and my music. I first saw Emmylou in 1977 ish at "The Coffee House" on the U.C. Davis campus. She had the "Hot Band" with her, we were sitting on folding chairs, and there were maybe 100 people there. I had never heard such a beautiful voice and amazing musicians in my life. Just before the show began, I looked to the back door of the room that led into the kitchen, to see a wide-eyed Emmylou peeking out into the room, soon to be ushered to the make shift stage by Phil Kaufman. Those were the days, and my oh my, did Emmy's life change. I had heard her music, her voice, her stories, and knew she was special, but I didn't know just how special until I picked up my guitar again, and started playing.....feeling the essence of the songs she chose to sing. Emmylou has been an interpreter of songs, a craftsman, the voice of our hearts for over 40 years, and she has still remained true to her craft, her art and true to the heart and soul of Americana/Country. I wish I could say the same about country music today, but that is another story.
I have been blessed to have met Emmy on several occasions, something I only dreamed of as a young college girl.( I have lost count of the number of her concerts I have attended). Emmylou is as grace-filled, lovely and real as you can expect. She inspired me to write a song several years ago..."Singin' With Emmylou"...the refrain reflects how her music has touched my life through marriage, divorce, births, deaths, jobs and my music:
"It was a warm, spring day in the month of May
with the top rolled down on my Chevrolet..
my heart skipped a beat , when her song filled the air..
and I was singin' with Emmylou...."
I am older now, and finally living my dream of singing, songwriting and touching hearts with my music. A day doesn't go by that I don't listen to or sing something "Emmylou" Her work from 40 years ago is just as raw and real as it was the first time I heard her songs. Recently, I had an opportunity to sing "Hickory Wind" with two friends harmonizing. I could feel the soul behind Gram Parson's words. I could hear Emmylou singing it in my heart...and I could feel the tears that fell down my face as the words pierced the air....
Emmy continues to remain true to her craft. She defines grace, artistry and professionalism. She is dedicated to making our lives better through her animal rescue, Bonaparte's Retreat, along with her commitment through the years to rid our world of landmines, and more recently with the Jesuit's to help the refugees in the world.
Emmylou has been a role model for my life in so many ways that I can't begin to thank her or to describe how her music has touched my heart throughout my life. One thing I am sure of, is how important it is to stay true to your path, follow your dreams and do so with grace and dignity. The world needs more people like Emmylou.....
and the music plays on.......