What better time for a committed musician couple to release a song about dedicated love and other musician couples, than Valentine’s Day? Fear not though: folk / bluegrass duo, Darin and Brooke Aldridge, aren’t breaking out a love song of Disney-esque proportions. What, or rather who, the North Carolina pair kept in mind, are famous couples of country music that have been through their shares of the highs and lows of life.

Premiering today on American Songwriter, “Emmylou” indeed refers to the one and only Emmylou Harris. More broadly, the song – which was written by the sister folk duo First Aid Kit – explores a few nuances of working toward a loving, intentional relationship and likens the singer’s aspirations for dedication to what is modeled by Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons, as well as June Carter and Johnny Cash. “We have the utmost respect for Emmylou [Harris] and Gram [Parsons], as well as Johnny [Cash] and June [Carter] – not only as musical artists but as couples too,” said Brooke and Darin Aldridge.

Now so much I know

that things just don’t grow

If you don’t blessed them with your patience

And I’ve been there before

I held up the door

For every stranger with a promise

But I’m holding back,

that’s the strength that I lack

The human imperfections laid out in the verses don’t necessarily come across very loving, warm, or endearing on their own. However, when given added personality through Brooke Aldridge’s clear, enthusiastic vocals and the clean, bright tones of the mandolin, acoustic guitar, and smoothly bowed fiddle, the song exudes a collective sense of motivated optimism, which comes out that much stronger when the chorus finally arrives.

I’ll be your Emmylou and I’ll be your June

If you’ll be my Gram and my Johnny too

No, I’m not asking much of you

Just sing little darling, sing with me

“When we discovered [First Aid Kit’s] song  ‘Emmylou,’ it was a pleasant surprise. After listening and learning it was a tribute to the great Emmylou Harris, the words took on a whole new meaning. It’s the perfect invitation to romance and spoke to us on a very personal level as a couple,” Darin and Brooke Aldridge said.

It’s refreshing for a musical couple like Darin and Brooke Aldridge to opt for highlighting love on Valentine’s Day with a song that touches on different emotional facets of connecting with someone else – not just the perfect and the positive. It’s a wholesome and more realistic approach to one of the most universal themes of music.

“[‘Emmylou’] is such an inspiring song that basically reminds its listener that ‘true love’ never dies,” said Brooke Aldridge. “Darin and I set out to represent that very message when we first started on our musical journey and hope to always make that the foundation of our music,” she said.

American Songwriter
Kira Grunenberg

-February 14, 2020