My brother is an artist, in the truest sense of the word. The best and worst of him flows out of the rawness of his continual search for truth, the pursuit of a high melodic calling that clings to his soul and refuses to let go. His faith informs everything about him with an authenticity that is as questioning and doubtful as often as it is passionate and reverent. I am prouder of him than anyone else I know. I love him fiercely, in the manner of love that an older sister carries for her little brother for a lifetime.
The acoustic guitars thump and sing, fat and gray in the company of angelic harmonies and archetypal melodies. We all know this music. It is written in the celtic, anglo-saxon souls of Caucasians. We have strayed and betrayed ourselves, attempting to leverage ourselves into the gladiatorial arenas of hip-hop and “modern” music, but we need to face it.
We are mountain people. Even the most mixed breed of us is stuck with the pipes and the drums from the highlands, pounding wild and distant in our hearts. The grouse and heather cling to our thighs as we run, as we flail to flee our past.
Emmylou, and artists like her bring those pasts back to confront our empty, unanchored eyes. We have drifted, for we have forgotten who we are, and when you can’t remember who you are, it’s even more difficult to latch on to who you’d like to be. It recedes in the distance, fleeing your reaching, outstretched hand.