Browsing around Facebook, one often finds “challenges” that ask the user to post one thing (book title, song, picture) a day. I stumbled on this one and though it would be fun turn it into a little playlist. I’ll be posting a new song everyday, keep your eyes peeled.
Day 10: a song that makes you sad.
Fact: I am a huge crybaby. Sad movie? I cry. Sad book? I cry. Sad song? I cry. And listen to it over and over again until I can pay attention to the song and not cry. So I hereby refuse to choose only one sad song, and will present two song that I see as companion pieces.
The first one I fell in love with through Nanci Griffith’s cover. I like both her version and the original: she and Townes have the same plaintive tone when singing about a girl named Caroline who came from Spencer to look for work as her father in the neighboring holler couldn’t take care of her during the winter on account of a lack of coal. Here’s Townes original, but if you don’t mind crappy sound, I’d highly suggest you listen to the Van Zandt/Griffith duet on this one.
The second one is another tale of a lost youth, and once again, the protagonist is female. Emmylou Harris here crafts a song that tells of a whole life wasted and dreams crushed by the entrapment of red dirt America. The downward trajectory of Lillian is recorded by a first-person narrator who notices all the pitfalls that come with being a young woman in a rural place: parental violence, early pregnancy, alcoholism…
We all come into this world with so much potential and so many dreams. Who knows why some people escape and other people don’t? The key idea is in the lyric, ‘There won’t be any mentions on The News of the World.'” -Emmylou Harris
The album earned Harris a Grammy in 2001, and the named “red dirt” girl stuck to describe Alabama-born Harris herself although she made clear she “had this incredibly blessed life” and created the character of Lillian from patches of stories and remembrances she had of the South.
Day 1: a song you like with a color in the title.
Day 2: a song you like with a number in the title.
Day 3: a song that reminds you of summertime.
Day 4: a song that reminds you of someone you’d rather forget.
Day 5: a song that needs to be played loud.
Day 6: a song that makes you want to dance.
Day 7: a song to drive to.
Day 8: a song about drugs or alcohol.
Day 9: a song that makes you happy.