For the New Year, I thought I’d come a little closer to the twenty-first century in my weekly artistic selection. I’m still twenty years away, but, hey, I am progressing. Sam Phillips’ 1991 song “Raised on Promises” is one of my favorite anthems for change and rebellion, born partly out of her own escape from a record label that insisted on marketing her as “the Christian Cyndi Lauper.”
Part of the reason it became that for me too is that it was used as music for Ruby in Paradise, an early Ashley Judd film about a young woman who slams out of her white-trash life in Tennessee and goes to Florida to find her way. When I first saw it, of course, I was living in Pennsylvania and had no idea I might end up in Florida. But I identified with the longing for escape and independence, not to mention the accent. Ashley Judd played the character with a delicate yet stubborn subtlety she’s rarely displayed since.
This artistic pairing has me thinking about new starts and about the promises we make and break (to ourselves and others). These seem like fitting contemplations for the start of 2012.