Tuesday, February 14, 2006

"All is forgotten, and nothing's forgiven."

Heartbreaker #8: A River For Him by Emmylou Harris, on Bluebird.

Ms. Harris is acutely capable of locating the heartbreak in other people's songs, and has constructed a handsome career from this art. But she penned this one herself, and it's as lonely a song as you could hope to find this side of Hank Williams (lyrics here).

A friend asked me if I mightn't choose her cover of Steve Earle's Goodbye, from Wrecking Ball. I'm among the legion of fans who think Wrecking Ball is just about as good as she and Daniel Lanois get, individually or as a duo. And Goodbye definitely gives me the shivers and puts me in a minor key. It just doesn't get the tears flowing. This is because it is so obviously a sentiment voiced by a recovering addict: Was I just off somewhere or maybe just too high / But I can't remember if we said goodbye. That's chilling and deeply depressing, and quite sad for the person it's addressed to, but it does not come across to me as a "sad" song per se, if you see what I mean. It's too calculated. A River For Him, on the other hand, is messy with recognition of what's been lost forever.

But speaking of Steve Earle... Heartbreaker #7


DarkoV said...

I'm trying to just say nice things, even with the mention of Emmylou Harris tempting me down a different road. I admit my prejudices, illogical though they may be. Besides, with our VP shooting citizens he likes (and doing so without the proper license), I'm not sure what he'd do with me, not exactly an ardent fan of his. Who knows? It's of National Security designation that Mr. Cheney's iPod musical choices (as he's a VERY avid iPodder...hhmmmm, maybe he was listening to his iPod when he clipped his non-avian friend?) are of indeterminable songwritership (???word???). He may also be an Emmylou fan and so may be gunning for me if I breath a word of negativity.

So, let me go a differnt way. You mentioned Hank Williams (a personal favorite of mine) and so I mention Chris Wall's I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight made famous by the incomparable Jerry Jeff Walker, as a song of sadness, heartbreak, and recovery through a tear-stained grin. This song has pulled me through some messy times and Jerry Jeff's voice is always a salve for heartbreak's wounds.

Whisky Prajer said...

Eef - lumping me in with Cheney ... you sure know how to hurt a guy! Looks like I'll be referring to Mr. Walker just to heal my own freshly broken heart.

DarkoV said...

Dear Sir,
No intention of any kind was exercised in lumping you with our dear Mr. Cheney. Rather, it is the broad appeal of Emmylou that I was rhapsodizing on when I went to the dark side any discussed Mr. Cheney's alleged iPOd choices. I would never have knowingly grouped the two of you so closely; it was an accidental destination.

Whisky Prajer said...

I'd like to think chances are remote that Mr. Cheney was listening to The Boss while firing his rifle, but you never really know about these things.

DarkoV said...

Wherever I turn, there she is. Now Cowtown Pattie has gone on an Emmylou Harris kick.

It's got to be me. That's the answer. I'm just skeet waiting to get shot.

Whisky Prajer said...

Heh heh - yeah, I thought of you when I first read that. But you should know better than to think there's a corner in Texas where you won't hear Emmylou being played.