Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Difficult Kind

My first impulse on seeing Sheryl Crow in a gold lamé minidress was to, uh, eat crow.

There she was at the Grammys a couple of years ago, when I still played the guitar and imagined myself a Grammy recipient (twenty years on the road and I still can't write a song), Sheryl Crow, Lance Armstrong's partner (how I hate him for taking my chick!), Sheryl Crow all Ho'd up like everybody else with no sign of the little genius that hides within.

This was no AM station fodder from back in the old days when most AM stations played rock instead of talk, vintage songs all a-bubbly with Budweiser beer buzzes, of following the sun, stuff out of Sheryl's Planet album of love and loss, especially The Difficult Kind, a heart-wrencher to this day.

Sheryl Crow seeming diminutive in her Dolce&Gabbana pants and way over- the- top heels, accompanied by Shelby Lynn, herself beautiful as an Appalachian stream. Two women with two guitars, unplugged, but electric all the same in a sound like two angels coming on a melodically tight line. This is what the best of American talent sounded like before the horror of Sept. 11. And this was what American talent would sound like too, just after the tragedy, all the best musicians, pop and country, standing up to support the country to show beauty and grace under incredible pressure.

Do not give up on America. The best songs come ouf of the Mississippi Delta, now so awash, bodies floating in the streets, people begging and dying while officials lie like sidewalks. And yet all that debris and detritus, those tin shacks stuck against the trees were the spawning grounds of the best music out of modern times.

Have you seen today's Mississippi? It is not a river, it is nearly an ocean, a Lake Erie down there in Louisianna, Lake Ponchatrain joined with the river , the city a lake too, all of it forming Atlantis as in Plato's vision, years before Christ.

Yes, the beautiful "Ho's" with their stunning talents will be back, back to rouse the nation and offer hope, all the Gwen Stefanis and Shelby Lynns and Sheryl Crows and Faith Hills. I will wager that even Avril Lavigne, who sounds French, will be there.

Mark my words. The beautiful ladies of song will yet reverse this tragedy. You'll hear angels singing.