It was spooky.
I listened to President Obama's speech from the Oval Office and it seemed less like an announcement of an important historical moment (the ending of combat operations in Iraq) than a laundry list of stuff we all know is going on. We all know the war is over yet there are still 50 thousand troops in Iraq. We all know there is a surge of fighting in Afghanistan, and we know that the economy is still in trouble. The president sounded like someone who had just sworn off some questionable behavior, trying to turn the page knowing that he'll be living the consequences of his past actions for some time to come. Or maybe it was like the lament of some heartbroken soul watching another relationship go down the tubes hoping for the best next time around. In short, the speech had the zinging, upbeat, optimism of say, a Hank Williams country tune.
So I couldn't resist trying to see what it would sound like to put some of the president's own words to music. I scanned the text and found these kind of stiff, but very "country flavored" words:
“Our troops are the steel in our ship of state. And though our nation may be trave.ling through rough waters, they give us confidence that our course is true, and that beyond the pre-dawn darkness, better days lie ahead.”
I found an Emmylou Harris tune that echoed the idea of the darkness before the dawn, played them both together and yikes: it's like they were in the recording studio together.
Listen to Obama's country cadence. We edited between the phrases but the pace of each line is Obama's straight from the Oval Office.
Obama and Emmylou Harris: Spooky, or maybe a second career for somebody.