Saturday Night at Church

The picture above is deceiving. For one, I took it from my seat, with my iPhone buried deep in my chest, pointing up over the brim of the stage, so the perspective is distorted. Also, it’s actually two photos combined in Photoshop. I was sitting so close I could never get all four performers — Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, and Shawn Colvin — in a single shot. I was sitting so close, in fact, that the only two people in the theater sitting closer to Emmylou were Patty and Buddy (sorry Shawn).

Three Girls and Their Buddy, as they’ve named this tour, stopped by the Tennessee Theatre last night. Sitting side-by-side with no other accompaniment, each of the singer/songwriters took their turn at the mic, beginning with Emmylou (“I’m the oldest, so I get to go first”). They played for just over two hours — four cycles through plus a groupsing of “Green Pastures” and two encores, “Didn’t Leave No Body but the Baby” (the sirens’ song from O, Brother) and Patty Griffin’s gorgeous ode to her grandmother, “Mary.”

I titled this post “Saturday Night at Church” because the whole show was gospel-flavored — though after finally seeing her live, I suspect the same could probably be said of every concert Emmylou has ever played. By the midpoint of the first song, “Red Dirt Girl,” I was nearly crying. It was the damnedest thing. I’m starting to think she’s an honest-to-God angel.