I live in Texas. I grew up in Oklahoma, and yet despite being raised in the bastion of country music I am not a big fan. It isn’t that I don’t appreciate the musicality of the songs or that I don’t respect the artists, it’s just that most country music puts it all out there. There is no mystery as to what the song is about. If a song tells of your girlfriend in bed with your best friend’s father or something very clear like that, it is pretty hard to think of much else when the song is playing. I like for a song to evoke a feeling and then whatever I’m feeling in my life can fill in the rest.
I first heard Emmylou Harris’s album Wrecking Ball in those first hazy weeks of motherhood with my first child as we prepared to move across the country. Suddenly, I was in charge of this tiny, vulnerable being and everything I knew to be true was viewed through this new lens. Emmylou’s voice is haunting and exquisite on this whole album and something about it really resonated with me at that time. Wrecking Ball is an album from 1995, it was produced by Daniel Lanois who is renowned for producing U2. This album, like many of U2’s albums are meant to be taken in as a whole. There is only one song on this album that I routinely skip, so I count Wrecking Ball on my short list of must- have albums. It is the kind of album that makes me sad that we live in the digital age and can cherry pick songs. That being said, here’s my favorite from Wrecking Ball: “Going Back to Harlan.” It has an oddly kicky percussion along with it that makes it one of those surprisingly good songs to run to. If you are running outdoors, quick and light and feeling introspective put this on. True to my previous statement I have no idea what this song is about. I just know what it means to me.