Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A little bit country

Aboard a rattly old train of thought set going by a discussion at Larvatus Prodeo of Van Morrison's new album, my thoughts of Emmylou Harris turned to the live concert I saw here in Adelaide a few years ago, where she came onstage in a green shirt and old blue jeans and stood quietly in the corner with her guitar playing a whole set of backup (yep, that's right) for Buddy Miller. She is -- like him -- a musician's musician.

She worked her way through most of the album she was touring to promote, Red Dirt Girl (oh and I so relate to that), interweaving the new songs with old classics. She also gave her support act Kasey Chambers -- then a rapidly rising star, at the post-The Captain but still pre- Not Pretty Enough stage -- lots of space, and came over at one point to sing a very hot duet.

During her set Chambers offered us her version of the definitive country song. It must, she said, have the following four elements, the Rules of Mainstream Country:

1. Country songs have to be about love
2. Someone has to die
3. Country songs have to be sad
4. You have to mention Texas.

She then sang the song she came up with when following these rules -- chorus only, so far.

Don’t look up my dress unless you mean it
Don’t you put your hand upon my thigh,
Before you stick that in you’d better clean it,
I hope I go to Texas when I die.


liam said...

Let me have a go.
"It was a sad cold evening in Fort Worth
I wish I'd never kissed her,
The evidence when I fell to the earth:
Her shots were true, I missed her."

genevieve said...

My son and I travel often to Songs of the West. And he has fallen asleep many times listening to Wrecking Ball. What upsets me most about ELH is that she has never made any bloody money - that is to say, money commensurate to her gifts. One wonders what might have happened if Gram had been able to stay with us.
There is an absolutely brilliant version of 'Las Vegas' on the tribute CD, Return of the Grievous Angel, BTW, which she helped arrange. It is MAGIC.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Liam, that is lovely. I have a vivid mental picture.

Geneieve ... I dunno about Gram. I get the impression he was absolutely determined to exterminate himself ASAP one way or another. Looking at ELH onstage one got the impression that she didn't much care about money, just music. Thanks for the tip about the trubute CD, I will track that down.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Tribute. Sheesh.

genevieve said...

Yea verily regarding extermination - however he was a gifted individual. The tribute CD is very nice. I must listen to Red Dirt Girl again, I did not give that much of a chance but my sister loves it.

Ampersand Duck said...

[note to self: must listen to more ELH]

Pavlov's Cat said...

To encourage you, A. Duck, Emmylou's is the name on two of the great album titles of our times -- Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town, and Stumble Into Grace. And here's the link to the lyrics of the song that made everyone cry the night we saw her live: Bang the Drum Slowly