Friday, February 17, 2006

Missing the Boat on Emmylou

As Whisky Prajer and Cowtown Pattie have noted recently, Emmylou is someone to admire and listen to intently. She has been admired and listened to fervently going on 20-25 years. She took on the mantle of country/rock crossover worn by her friend/lover/soulmate, Gram Parsons, since his death in 1973 at the age of 26. She is talented, personable, beautiful, and well-liked. The Diva of Loss has countless fans and (let me just totally overkill this word, o.k.?) an admiring public.

So, why can I not stand her singing? Is it a question of ears overtuned to the sarcastic? Is it a lack of empathy for one after another songs of sadness and woe? Finally, is it a total lack of emotive skills?

I don't think (well, at this point, hope) so. I still blubber each time I listen to Iris DeMent's "Our Town" or Steve Goodman's "My Old Man". Even Nina Simone's "Strange Fruit" will elicit eyewater (and anger).

I'm at a loss to explain it; perhaps a reader or two will do the propaganda thing with a comment and tell me what I'm not hearing. Even "Wrecking Ball" couldn't pull me out of a Emmylou funk.

I'm pleading for help here! I'd love to like or, at the least, put up with her singing. Show me the way! I must be deaf so I cannot hear.

Here's something I'm downright ashamed to admit: Iris Dement (mostly) leaves me cold. I have no idea why that is. I can sit through an entire CD of hers and ennumerate for everyone else why I *should* love her, but the feeling just ain't there.

Except on that duet she recently did with John Prine. A little humour goes a long way, I guess
WP, Not to worry. While I love her voice, there's only so much of it that I can take. Say, on or two songs every month or so. yes, she seems to be bereft of humour when singing solo, which is a big NO!-NO! in my book. It's interesting that you mention Mr. Prine, a man certainly desreving of being miserable and sad. And yet, he wallows in that pit on occassion while preferring the goofy grin in most cases. DeMent is a talent, for sure, but one taken in small doses. Very small doses.

Are you familiar with Greg Brown? Sharp eye, sharp tongue, langorously deep voice, and a wit that won't quit.
Greg Brown, you say? Too late for him to make the list, I'm afraid!
I love Emmylou dearly (although somewhat less since she took up with the PETA wackos), but as long as we're confessin' 'round the old campfire -- I don't much care for Gram Parsons's nasal twang, although some of his songs are very good indeed (and some not.) It was a universal complaint for many years that Gram's voice was mixed way down on "Sweetheart of the Rodeo." Well, years later, those clever sound engineers brought it to the forefront again -- and it was better the first time.

Yeah, it's sad that he died and all. But Emmylou should stop all of the public sighing, which started to wear thin after the first decade.

My verification word is "qjmuasn." Is it just me, or does this sound dirty?

I have only this to say:
I had to come over to get the full story after seeing CP's comments.

For some reason Emmylou affects me the way WP describes Iris Dement: I think I SOULD like Emmylou but I've never been excited by anything she's done. I don't dislike her though.

Iris Dement on the other hand I love even though her music doesn't "wear well."

Gillian Welch - now there is someone I can't get enough of.
Now you've done it, you crazy Croatian - you've gone and riled a Texan!
It's not CP that I'm worreid about. I'm sure I can take her 2 out of 3 falls, especially if she's bust wearing that dress and twirling that parasol.

Her husband, however, is a different matter. It's him I would not want to get riled. So I'm hoping that the love of Emmylou is not something he shares with CP.
And that crazy Croatian crack, can I use it as a blogging self-defense type excuse?

Bill, Thank you for wandering over to this site and leaving your comment. I'm with you on Emmylou; there was always an expectation that if I was to welcomed to the Sentinent Hall of Fame, I'd have to proclaim an unquestioned love for Emmylou. So, I never got in...and I'm not broken up about that...and I think Emmylou wrote a song about that too.
That's "just wearing that dress..", not bust wearing that...

If it wasn't my Emmylou harangue that's got CP all riled up, I'm sure my spelling has.

Apologies to the Lady!
She sings back-up on Dylan's "Desire" record - perhaps listening to that would be a way of breaking down your resistance - I'm mean compared with Dylan's nasal twang hers is quite pleasant.
That dress is just a disguise for my guns hidden in those velvet folds.

Kman knows I can hold my own, but he always has my back. A wise man who knows the only two things to fear in life is a righteous woman and being left afoot.

It is no small detail that he is 6 foot 3 inches tall and close to 280 pounds.

It's the voice. It either pings or it don't.

You can't deny she knows what to do with a song and that her taste in material is (perhaps too) eclectic.

Can't talk you into loving her, but she's my desert island female vocalist.
Sluggo, you're so right about the pinging. However, when you wrote Can't talk you into loving her, but she's my desert island female vocalist, I started thinking what that would be like, I mean stuck on an island with you and with only 3 or 4 of Emmylou's cd's to while away the time.
I think I'd have to turn cannibal and serve you up roasted with any local onions or roasted fruit available. I promise that you'd go mercifully painlessly.
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