The Connecton

Album: The Very Best of Emmylou Harris: Heartaches and Highways (2005)
  • "Imagine a thread, a connection, between this guy who’s alone in his room, leaning his chair against the wall. And he’s imagining... his boot is on the leg of his chair, his chair is laying back, touches the wall, the wall runs the length to the door, the door reaches down to the sidewalk, and the sidewalk leads to the edge of the street. That street takes you out to the old highway, and the highway ends at the county line bridge, and the bridge takes you up to the freeway. And the freeway, then, takes you out to the city where she’s moved to. And then once you get to the city, then it reaches the sidewalk, and goes up the building, and goes to the floor that feels her step, and she walks to the rail of the balcony and looks out on the freeway, and the freeway then takes you back to the guy." That's how songwriter Randy Sharp tells the story of this song, "It’s all about that thread, that connection that he’s imagining in his missing her, and in his refusal to let go of her. He’s describing what’s left of the connection."
  • This song was over a year in the writing, as co-writers Randy Sharp and Jack Routh struggled to find a faster way "to get there and back" with the connection, since the song was "way too long."
  • The early concept, says Randy, "Was this connection, this stream, this desperate person just wouldn’t let go. And the state of mind that they would go to. And it probably came out of some old romance or something that he (co-writer Jack Routh) was relaying, or I was, or some book we read or movie we saw. I don’t even remember what triggered it. But the concept of just refusing to let go, even when there really was nothing there. He’s so desperate that he’s conjuring up a connection of any kind just to keep from letting go."
  • It was 13 years after this song was written that Emmylou Harris was able to put it on a record. Because it's such a unique song - by Country music standards - it's one that Randy is most proud of. "It had been around at the time, and everybody had heard it, and it’s just a very unusual song, longer than most songs. It doesn’t rhyme except in the choruses. It’s just one of those rule-breaking songs. And we’d known Emmylou a long time and had taken this song to her very early on, and she always liked it. But it just never fit her records. But it’s a real interesting song. And it’s a real linear story. You kind of need to hear it. It’s peculiar, but peculiar, I think, in all the right ways." (Read more in our interview with Randy Sharp.)
  • With this song Emmylou Harris won the 2005 Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.

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