I first heard LeeAnn Rhymes when I was driving home after a late night play rehearsal. It was summer, there was a bright moon out, and I was listening to the car radio.
The D.J. introduced a song sung by a thirteen year old girl. “When I heard the song for the first time it made the hair on my neck stand up! You won’t believe these vocals come from a thirteen year old girl. For your listening pleasure, here it is LeAnn Rimes singing, “Blue.”
When LeAnn’s sang “Blue” I had the same experience as the D.J., the hair stood up on the back of my neck.
She sounded just like Patsy Cline, and she was only 13 years old!
As a matter of fact “Blue” was intended for Patsy Cline but she died in a plane crash before she could record it.
Waiting to feel “Blue” at Snoqualmie Casino
When we went to the LeAnn Concert at Snoqualamie Casino, I desperately looked forward to hearing her sing “Blue.”
The concert began with Troy Olsen singing his “Ghost Town Train”. I thought the lyrics were beautiful: apparently he wrote the song and said that it was on Tim McGraw’s Southern Voice Album.
Troy Olsen rocks!
I’m sorry to say I never heard of Troy Olsen, but after he sang, I thought it was my loss. Troy Olsen is incredibly talented!
Troy Olsen sang more songs and then there was a short intermission before LeAnn came on.
As I waited for her LeAnn show to start, I exchanged a few words with the two women next to me.
“What songs are you looking forward to hearing?” I asked the woman to my right.
The younger woman named a couple of songs that I hadn’t heard of, and the older woman volunteered that she liked “all of LeAnn’s Songs!”
“LeAnn could sing the phone book, and Mom wouldn’t care,” her daughter quipped.
What song was I looking forward to hearing?
“Blue” I said without hesitation.
“I haven’t heard of that one,” her daughter said.
Haven’t heard of Blue. She might as well said I haven’t heard that Tony Bennett lost his heart in Sanfranciso.
The lights went down and LeeAnn came out in a pink and blue mini dress that would have looked good on a young girl going out to a nice restaurant.
Nothing was wrong with the dress, it was just a bit of a disappointment to see someone who had won so many major industry awards dress so casual.
I guess I wanted to see a little ‘bling’ to represent LeeAnn’s three Grammys, three ACMs, one CMA and twelve Billboard Music Awards that she had under her belt.
She went right into her first song and those rich vocals took my breath away.
When she sang “What I cannot Change” (a song she co-wrote) the audience was spellbound.
The lyrics reminded me of something you might tell your therapist—lines like…”I don’t know my father or my mother well enough/ It seems like every time we talk/We cannot get passed the little stuff.”
It’s no secret that there was a lot of pain in LeAnn’s life. She divorced her husband (her backup dancer for a while) Dean Sheremet in 2009 after her well-publicized affair with actor Eddie Cibrian.
Fame came too fast and she had trouble adjusting to all the attention that ensued. (It reminded me a little of what happened to Elvis Presley when he was rich and famous before he could emotionally handle all that responsibility.)
After the release of “Blue”, LeAnn parents divorced. By that time LeeAnn was making big bucks. She tried to take control of her finances from her father. She claimed that her father and his partner pocketed some $7 million of her earnings. Wilbur Rimes filed a countersuit against her noting what he felt was LeAnn’s “egregious overspending.”
Father and daughter later reconciled when she married Sheremet and LeeAnn told “20/20” that everybody attending the wedding had tears in their eyes and her father shared the traditional father-daughter dance.
LeAnn sang another country pop song.
Still no “Blue”. Song after song I continued to appreciate her beautiful voice, but I still ‘hankered’ for the more traditional country western sound.
Didn’t happen, more songs of a confessional nature followed.
In “Good Friend and a Glass of Wine” she asks, “Who died and crowned me everybody’s everything?”
Or from “Family” she sings about roots that deep and suggests “We’re all to blame, were all the same, make no apologies, This is my family.”
In short, Seeing a LeAnn concert (at least for me) was seeing LeAnn’s unvarnished.
At times the song lyrics made me uncomfortable— like being an interloper in her personal life.
That was not to say that I wasn’t moved by her honest sincerity but I missed hearing the ‘old’ (or maybe ‘young’ LeAnn) I wanted to hear her sing my favorite (next to “Blue” song called “I’ll Get Even With You.”) My idea of a well-written song.
And then when I was about to give up on hearing anything that I wanted to identify with, she went the song that made her famous, “Blue”
Because of “Blue’s” popularity (in l996 it sold 6 million copies) LeAnn recorded it again at age 28. When she sang it I liked it, but it didn’t make my hair stand up on the back of my neck. Don’t know why, It just didn’t.
Maybe it was because it wasn’t a summer night, the moon wasn’t out, and I wasn’t listening on a car radio to a 13 year old girl singing like a reincarnated Patsy Cline.
LeAnn sang a couple more songs from her “Family” album and then introduced Tony Obrohta on guitar and her drummer Will Denton. Every one clapped (some cheered) and then concert was over.
As my husband and I left the Ballroom, my husband asked if I liked the concert?
I said that I liked it, I really did!, but on the other hand, I felt a little ‘cheated’ due in part to unrealized expectations.
But then again, LeAnn had moved on from her “Blue”, “The Cattle Call”, and “Cowboy Sweetheart” yodeling days, perhaps it was time for me to move on as well.