Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Emmylou Harris chosen to join Country Music Hall of Fame

It was announced today that Emmylou Harris, along with Tom T. Hall, Pop Stoneman, and the Statler Brothers, will be the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Here's what Harris had to say about that in a press release from the Hall. and below that, a look back at a post on the recent box set release Songbird.


Tom T. Hall said that induction is almost a spiritual experience. Has it been for you as well?

It will now. It's still got to sink in a little bit. There's that aspect of it, where you feel honored. What an amazing thing it is to be a part of that tradition, especially for somebody who didn't come to it naturally. I wasn't raised in Country Music, even though I'm from the South. We moved around a lot, and music wasn't a big part of my life until I discovered folk music. That's where my musical passion was until I started working with Gram [Parsons], and then I became this almost obnoxious convert.

Everything about Country Music, there is a certain reverence, so I would use that word as well as what he said, "spiritual." There's a reverence about the music because to me it's not just music that was played a long time ago. The good stuff is always resonant. For me, it always fuels my passion for Country Music moving forward, obviously not trying to just recreate what the early artists did. But you're infused with it, and you go on to hopefully add something to it.

How do you feel about being part of this Class of '08, with all that it reflects about Country Music?

Oh, well, it's great. Of course, I never met Pop Stoneman, but he's a part of that education for me. Also, the D.C. area, there's that connection, even though we were there at different times.

I was telling the Statlers that in that arrogant period of my youth, when I disdained Country Music, my brother was a huge Country Music fan way before it was cool in certain circles. I loved the Statler Brothers in spite of myself. You can't but smile when you hear "counting flowers on the wall."

And, of course, Tom T. Yes, you had the songwriting of Bob Dylan, which infused me and still does. But Tom T., cutting to the chase with simplicity of lyrics and storytelling that goes back to folk and the best of Country. So, I'm a huge fan of Tom T. Hall. When the original Hot Band was out, our motto was: "Faster Horses!" Rodney and I used to warm up with "Negatory Romance." And now, of course, Buddy Miller has recorded "That's How I Got to Memphis" with Solomon Burke. It's great to be a part of this class.




Songbird

Rodney Crowell, George Jones, Mark Knopfler, Patty Griffin, Linda Ronstadt, and John Starling are duet partners who show up with Harris here. It’s a fitting range of voices and connections for the adventurous singer, who is known to love to sing harmonies and to look for newer writers and singers, which both Crowell and Griffin were when first she knew them. Her harmony work doesn’t show up much here, by Harris’ choice: she felt it was important to include material on the project where her voice was the leading one. Makes these collaborations all the more interesting, both in themselves and in the reminders of other collaborative projects in which she’s participated.

Six of the seventeen cuts on this disc see their first release here, and there’s a live version of The Pearl, as well. Highway of Heartache and Snowin’ on the Raton, and First in Line, the duet with Starling, are three of the unreleased tracks.

Harris takes a bluegrass/country turn with Randy Scruggs and Iris DeMent on Wildwood Flower, and her song with George Jones, Here We Are, marked the first time she’d recorded with a singer who’d been a longtime inspiration for her own work. The last song of this seventy eight track trip finds Harris again with her friends Ronstadt and Parton, singing When We’re Gone, Long, Gone.

The ten cuts on the dvd span Harris’performing career from Together Again with the Hot Band through Love Hurts with Elvis Costello. I Ain’t Living Long Like This, with Spyboy, is especially notable. It’d have been nice to see some of Harris’ Austin City Limits performances, or her gigs at Merlefest; with nine cuts to span forty years, what is there are varied choices. The tenth video is Harris making a plea for a cause she believes in strongly, animal rescue.

She believes strongly in music, too. “The possibility of one song gets me out of bed in the morning,” she says.

All things considered, it’s as interesting see what Harris chose to include in this package as it is to hear the music.


more about Songbird There's a series of posts about the music on Songbird. Follow the links at the bottom of each post to see the others, as well as related material.



Voices: Emmylou Harris

Labels: , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Kerry Dexter at 1 Comments Links to this post

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

now playing: Emmylou Harris: Songbird: disc four and the dvd


Songbird

Rodney Crowell, George Jones, Mark Knopfler, Patty Griffin, Linda Ronstadt, and John Starling are duet partners who show up with Harris here. It’s a fitting range of voices and connections for the adventurous singer, who is known to love to sing harmonies and to look for newer writers and singers, which both Crowell and Griffin were when first she knew them. Her harmony work doesn’t show up much here, by Harris’ choice: she felt it was important to include material on the project where her voice was the leading one. Makes these collaborations all the more interesting, both in themselves and in the reminders of other collaborative projects in which she’s participated.

Six of the seventeen cuts on this disc see their first release here, and there’s a live version of The Pearl, as well. Highway of Heartache, Snowin’ on the Raton, and First in Lne, the duet with Starling, are three of the unreleased tracks.

Harris takes a bluegrass/country turn with Randy Scruggs and Iris DeMent on Wildwood Flower, and her song with George Jones, Here We Are, marked the first time she’d recorded with a singer who’d been a longtime inspiration her own work. The last song of this seventy eight track trip finds Harris again with her friends Ronstadt and Parton, singing When We’re Gone, Long, Gone.

The ten cuts on the dvd span Harris’performing career from Together Again with the Hot Band through Love Hurts with Elvis Costello. I Ain’t Living Long Like This, with Spyboy, is especially notable. It’d have been nice to see some of Harris’ Austin City Limits performances, or her gigs at Merlefest; with nine cuts to span forty years, what is there are interesting choices. The tenth video is Harris making a plea for a cause she believes in strongly, animal rescue.

She believes strongly in music, too. “The possibility of one song gets me out of bed in the morning,” she says.

All things considered, it’s as interesting see what Harris chose to include in this package as it is to hear the music.


more about Songbird


Voices: Emmylou Harris

Labels: , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Kerry Dexter at 0 Comments Links to this post

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

now playing: Emmylou Harris: Songbird: back to disc one


Songbird


For Emmylou Harris, the roots of music run deep into folk tradition, and the branches stretch out to country, Americana, bluegrass, and a range of singer and songwriter ideas and other genres. It’s the folk and country sides which are the focus of the twenty one tracks on the first disc of this box set. It’s Harris’ own view of these sounds, of course, and her choice of highlights from the many such songs she has recorded. Among other things that means there’s as much from songwriters like Rodney Crowell, Gram Parsons, and Dolly Parton as there is material from any historic source. The disc opens with an alternate take from her first album Gliding Bird, showing Harris in the early days of developing her vocal style, and her song writing chops too. A studio track and a live cut with Gram Parsons give a good look at their collaboration in just the space of two songs. Sorrow in the Wind evokes the Appalachians as well as western spaces, while Rough and Rocky walks a line between lullaby and lament. The set’s title track, My Songbird, is here, and so is Ashes By Now, which its writer, Rodney Crowell, and country star Lee Ann Womack have both taken to weel deserved chart status. Harris puts yet another spin on the song. There’s a Springsteen song, Racing in the Streets, in which Harris keeps both the folk and rock sides of the Boss in evidence. The Green Rolling Hills is, Harris remarks in the liner notes, “a direct line back to displacement, people leaving, longing for home...we all feel that way in different situations. That sense of longing has always been the thing that pulls me into songs.”



more about Songbird


Voices: Emmylou Harris

and for more on all that leaving and longing. just search the words Irish music on this site...

Labels: , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Kerry Dexter at 0 Comments Links to this post

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

now playing: Emmylou Harris: Songbird: disc three


Songbird

Emmylou Harris has always had an ear for harmonies and and adventurous taste in what to do with them, whether she’s the one singing lead or the one adding to that. That’s led to many remarkable moments of music, some of which are revisited on disc three of Songbird. Harris, Linda Ronstadt, and Dolly Parton became friends more than thirty years ago “and we just liked the way our voices sounded together,” Harris says. So do a lot of other people. Two unreleased tracks from their sessions together over the years, the militant hymn Palms of Victory and the quiet Softly and Tenderly, as well as Jean Ritchie’s classic folk song Dear Companion, which was on the first Trio album, are included here. Beck, Sheryl Crow, Steve Earle, the Pretenders, Mary Black, and others turn up for musical partnership. There’s a good amount of solo work, too, including the heretofore unreleased Immigrant Eyes and one of Harris’s more personal songs, All I Left Behind, as well as Love Still Remains and Hobo’s Lullaby. Though many of the songs are sad -- “ a lot of these songs are ones we left out of projects, that’s one reason there are so many sad ones,” Harris explains in the liner notes -- one comes away from this disc with a clear sense of Harris the musician, a woman who enjoys all the possibilities that melody, harmony, word, and voices may offer.


video of Emmylou Harris, Dolores Keane, and Mary Black singing Sonny from 1991.

more about Songbird


ahead, more on disc one, disc four, and the videos

Labels: , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Kerry Dexter at 0 Comments Links to this post

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

now playing: Emmylou Harris: Songbird: disc two


Bang the Drum Slowly, with its reflection acceptance, pain, history, and hope is a centerpiece of the nineteen tracks on the second disc of Songbird: Rare Tracks and Forgotten Gems, the four cd/1dvd box set from Emmylou Harris released today on Rhino Records. Drum is a song Harris wrote after thinking about conversations she wished she’d had with her father.

Disc two traces the route from Sweetheart of the Rodeo’s road trip country shuffle (with Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Linda Ronstadt, and Gail Davies on hand too) from The Ballad of Sally Rose to the spare generosity of Cup of Kindness (with Julie Miller and Kate McGarrigle backing Harris) from Stumble Into Grace. All three of these are songs Harris wrote herself, Drum and Cup appearing after a renewed commitment to song writing as “part of my job” which Harris has made in recent years.

That, of course, only shines more light on how well she gets at meaning in the songs of others she choose to interpret -- and interpret is an advised word when in comes to Emmylou Harris. One of those which stands out here the McGarrigle sisters’ Back to Harlan. It is from Wrecking Ball, a controversial album when Emmylou Harris and Daniel Lanois teamed up for it in 1995, and in some ways still so , but it is interesting to see how well the tracks Harris has chosen to include here fit in with the more country material that comes before, and the singer songwriter areas Harris continued to explore later on. Two other favorites from this disc: Brand new Dance -- that’s just such a good song, and Bright Morning Stars, which is gospel song from Angel Band, a set of tracks recorded informally in Harris’ living room. Get Up John from Live at the Ryman is a fine slice of the energy of that gig and that version of the Hot Band, too.

more to come on this boxed set. meanwhile

first impressions of Songbird

if you like Harris, find out more about two other artists you will enjoy:
Carrie Newcomer and Cathie Ryan

Labels: , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Kerry Dexter at 0 Comments Links to this post

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

now playing: Emmylou Harris: Songbird: first impressions


Emmylou Harris chose the tracks for this retrospective box set on Rhino, which is due out next week. It’s as interesting to see what she chose, and what she says about that in the liner notes, as it is to listen to the music. Each stands as part of the story. Forty years of musical story, and counting, from a woman who has really followed the music, followed the song where it leads her.

There are more than seventy songs, some previously unreleased, over four CDs, and there's a disc of video as well. To this writer what comes through very strongly is Harris’ art in spinning a story through words and music and unique individual voice -- both physical voice and in choice of material. It's about the telling, and the listening. Each of these songs is a part of that connection.

There will be more to say as this unfolds, still listening to the first disc. Highlights so far: Green Rolling Hills, Sorrow in the Wind, Satan's Jewel Crown, Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn, Ashes By Now, Racing in the Streets.

to be continued....

and props to Peter Cooper. too, for an excellent job on the notes for this box set.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Kerry Dexter at 0 Comments Links to this post