"Have you heard them? They're wonderful." - Dick Pleasants, dean of American folk deejays. WGBH and WUMB, Boston.
Emily's Angel, Valerie & Walter Crockett's third album of eclectic Americana, features their crack acoustic band, the Oxymorons (motto: "We'll drive you to a frenzy of catatonia!"), plus guest appearances by Duke Levine(Mary Chapin Carpenter's band) on electric guitar, Dave Dick (Northern Lights) on banjo, and Roger Williams (formerly of Southern Rail) on dobro. The Oxymorons are Bob Dick (Front Range), who plays acoustic bass with V&W and produces their albums; keyboard player Mark Manuel, who doubles on accordion and sax; mandolinist Fran McConville, who doesn't know how to play anything else; and drummer Bill MacGillivray (Dennis Brennan Band).
If you like Dan Hicks, Geoff Muldaur, Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks, and Mose Allison, you might love this album. Then again, there's no accounting for taste.
The story behind Emily's Angel
Our daughter, Emily, has an incurable brain tumor. In the late fall of 1998, Emily was experiencing brutal headaches and severe light-sensitivity. With the shades pulled down and her head bundled up with ice packs, she spent a lot of time listening to country music on WKLB. Emily had long felt especially connected to Garth Brooks. She dreamed about him often. One night at bedtime she told her mother that she was sure she would get to meet him someday. We didn't see much chance of that.
But five days later Emily was granted her wish: a trip to New York City to meet Garth backstage before he was to appear on The View. The hoped-for chat turned into a three-day stay, as Garth invited Emily and Valerie to stay on at his expense in New York City and attend the Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center. It was the final week of his three-year tour.
He put them up in a fine hotel, bought them clothes for the stay, and let them hang out with his family and Trisha Yearwood. Garth walked around backstage and made sure all the lights were dimmed. He talked to Emily and stroked her head. "Always believe," he said during their last meeting. "You have to always believe. If you don't understand that, then you've never truly heard a single Garth song." Then he gave her his tour guitar.
When they got home, Emily had brain surgery. Two months later, Valerie wrote "Emily's Angel," and Emily wrote, "One Special Day." Emily is 15 now. She and her mother still think about the trip every day.
This album is dedicated to Garth Brooks, Emily's angel.