Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Mutable Emmylou**


·         (**"mutable" as in "changeable," not "mutable" as in "Honey, hit the mute for me, would ya?")

      Somewhere along the line Emmylou Harris must have received a Special Dispensation allowing her to be associated with the country side of Nashville, have plastic surgery and appear in Vogue magazine. She has won 12 Grammys, 3 CMA's, and a Lifetime Achievement Award. The girl is prolific, by anyone's definition.

      What she is lacking, however, is anyone's definition--since her first album in 1969, Emmylou Harris has retained the right to define herself, and redefine herself, and then tweak as necessary. She has recorded everything from Western Swing to Bluegrass to that "Country Pop" stuff during the early '80's. Recently, her work is not far from what NPR designates as "World Music." The freedom to define herself is part of being Emmylou and part of what makes her brilliant.

      I vote that if Emmylou gets to do it, then Chely gets to do it; define, redefine, tweak as necessary. Move toward whatever is next, and keep it coming. Tell our story, Chely--the sacred and profane, the awkwardness, the elegance. All of it.

     And in so doing, we'll watch Nashville move toward what is next--gracious, elegant, ever new and arrestingly beautiful, like Emmylou.