A Soul Ripped Apart

Emmylou Harris

Have you ever listened to a song that reaches inside and shreds your soul?  I listened to one this afternoon on my way home in the car – an Emmylou Harris song.  The germane lyrics are below.  I think that a song can cause such anguish only when one has experienced what the song describes.  That was the case with me this afternoon.  I was near tears.  I don’t know why I am choosing to share this experience.  Maybe I’m trying to expiate my sins (for all the love I never gave her) as I enter gingerly into old age.  If I don’t do it now, maybe I’ll never have another chance.  Who knows?

He never thought he would marry
Too many women to explore
And even standing at the altar
He knew, somehow, he wanted more
Until the night he almost lost her
He kneeled beside her bed and cried
For all the love he never gave her
He felt so ashamed inside

He cried, my darling, please forgive me
I’ve been been lost and I’ve been blind
Trying to fill the empty places
While you’ve been waiting all this time
One true thing is all I want
One pure light to shine on through
Oh, my darling, please forgive me
I didn’t know it was you

Emmylou is one of the best singers of the last fifty years, regardless of genre. She is the best duet singer.  Anyone can sound good singing with Emmylou.  (Well, perhaps not myself.)  She can impart more emotion in a song than anyone else I am aware of.

I heard Emmylou on my iPod routed wirelessly through the car speakers.  I had the iPad set to shuffling through a long playlist.  The imp in my iPod who manages the shuffling followed up the song that shredded my soul with another weeper, this one by Rhiannon Giddens.  Then the imp, out of over a thousand songs to choose from selects another sad Emmylou song.  The probability of that happening by chance are similar to that of being hit by a meteorite just after you’d hit big on the lottery.  My iPod imp is mean!  I’m thinking of contacting Apple support and asking for a new imp that’s a bit more pleasant.  Has anyone had any luck with that?

The second Emmylou song wasn’t so wrenching.  The song, All That You Have Is Your Soul, has a message:

Hunger only for a taste of justice
Hunger only for a world of truth
‘Cause all that you have is your soul

The imp redeemed herself or himself (do imps have gender?) on the rest of the drive home.  Sweet Soul Music by Arthur Conley:

 Dancin’ to the music
Oh yeah, oh yeah

Soul Man by Sam and Dave, another classic from the sixties:

Got what I got the hard way
And I’ll make it better each and every day
So honey don’t you fret
‘Cause you ain’t seen nothing yet

Eventually, the imp played Walk Through The Bottom Land by Lyle Lovett.  Guess who accompanies Lyle on the song.  You’re right, Emmylou Harris.

François Jaques: Peasants Enjoying Beer at Pub in Fribourg
François Jaques: Peasants Enjoying Beer at Pub in Fribourg

I’ve blathered on enough.  I’m in a low dive on Main St drinking beer.  I’m going to sit back and enjoy one more.  Just one more, I promise.  Then I’ll go home.

Goodnight, sweetheart, well, it’s time to go
Goodnight, sweetheart, well, it’s time to go
I hate to leave you, but I really must say
Goodnight, sweetheart, goodnight

The McGuire Sisters

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