I really enjoyed my two wheeling dirt bike days, I’ve had fantastic times hang gliding and I still get a real buzz on skis after all these years. But if I had to choose, hand on heart, the “thing” that I would not want to live without; It would be an easy choice. A no brainer. I could not imagine a world without music. Music punctuates my entire life. If there really is a meaning to life then surely music holds the key.
Music is a mathematical thing. There are patterns and cycles. One of those cycles played out for me tonight. It’s only taken 38 years.
Back in 1975 I was traveling with my, soon to be, father in law. He was crazy on Country & Western music and was always keen to introduce me to some old yodeler or other. This was hopeless, of course, as I only had ears for Hendrix, Floyd, Roxy Music etc, On this particular night, however, I had to admit that I really quite liked the female artist whose cassette he had just picked up. She had a wonderful voice ….. just a shame she was singing that C&W stuff! Anyway, he made a copy of the tape for me and I often played it until it got eaten by the machine. For one reason or another I almost completely forgot the name and voice of Emmylou Harris for the next 20 years.
By the mid 90’s my unhealthy obsession with Q Magazine, that fueled an addiction to CD’s, re-introduced me to the work of Emmylou Harris. It was the association with U2 producer, Daniel Lanois, that tipped me over the edge. The “Wrecking Ball” album is simply divine; A cherished physical entity on the rack under the letter “H”. I have since collected three additional EH CD’s but nothing surpasses “Wrecking Ball”.
An so to the cycle close. After 38 years, Emmylou Harris has teamed up with her original collaborator, Rodney Crowell and old band members, to go out on the road and have fun with those old songs from that long ago chewed up tape. The band played in Atlanta (now last night) and were wonderful. At 66 years of age, EH still has command of a truly magical voice. As Rodney Crowell put it – she has the soul of a poet, the voice of an angel and she’s still hot! I couldn’t agree with him more.
As musical icing on the cake, the support act was none other than Richard Thompson. A folk/rock guitar icon and an all time favorite of mine. The last time Lynne and I saw him was in Basingstoke (UK), seven years ago. He did not disappoint. If there is a heaven, I think I might have visited tonight..