When Patty Griffin sang “Help Me Make It Through The Night” at the BMI dinner last night, Kris Kristofferson cried. You could see tears running down his face.
Dozens of songs, songwriters, and publishers were honored for their contributions to country music at the annual event. But when the band played the familiar Kristofferson melodies, and when Vince Gill, Patty Griffin, and Willie Nelson sang the familiar songs, “Me and Bobbie McGee,” “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” “Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again),” we in the audience knew we had entered a different world. Kristofferson’s songs took country music to a place of such anguish, such torture, such yearning, he taught us things about pain and suffering we did not know. He gave us a language we never had before.
Thanks, Kris. Thanks, too, for the tears. They tell us our love for you and for your songs was not misplaced. The songs were real. The pain was real.
It’s the pain we all feel.