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Emmylou Harris


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Contemporary folk, country

Status:

Most recent release, Old Yellow Moon (with Rodney Crowell, 2013); most recent solo release, Hard Bargain (2011)

See also:

Emmylou Harris' site

Wikipedia's page for Emmylou Harris

A fan site

Ectoguide site for group work as Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, and Emmylou Harris, her duo work with Mark Knopfler, and with Linda Ronstadt

Comparisons:

Hard to say because Emmylou is so prolific in different styles. A list of some of the many singers she has recorded with is more telling: Patty Griffin, Mary Black, Lucinda Williams, Linda Ronstadt, Daniel Lanois, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Buddy and Julie Miller, Bruce Springsteen, Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, Dave Matthews, Gillian Welch, Jane Siberry, Sarah McLachlan, Neil Young, The Chieftains, Mark Knopfler, Beth Orton, Sheryl Crow, Iris DeMent, Marianne Faithfull, Tracy Chapman, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Nanci Griffith, Bonnie Raitt, the Dixie Chicks, Alison Krauss

Covers/own material:

Own, co-written, and covers

General comments:

Emmylou is just *too* cool (and if you'd told me 5 years ago that I'd be running out eagerly grabbing new Emmylou Harris releases, I'd have branded you nuts). (meth@smoe.org)

Emmylou has ALWAYS been great. She has had so many great albums, and I'm proud to say that I've listened to her since probably Day 1, and still have the vinyl to prove it! I even have Gliding Bird both on cassette and LP! :) Has there ever been a sexier picture than Emmy on the covers of Luxury Liner, Elite Hotel, or Cimarron? Not that I've ever seen. Mmmmm...I dare say that even KATE hasn't looked as great. What a gift not only to be incredibly talented, beautiful, but a wonderful person as well. One of my favorite memories was when she signed my Luxury Liner LP.
     I couldn't recommend a specific album of hers for an Emmylou newbie, but if I had a squirt gun to my head, I'd say go buy The Ballad of Sally Rose, immediately. A concept album to rival any concept album ever made, just an incredible effort! (alundra@netos.com)

Ms. Harris is an extraordinarily accomplished singer: i always have the sense that she achieves her goals for every performance. And she has continued to do that as her voice has worn and evolved. She's singing in a tradition that can be hard for some to accept, and has managed to make it accessible to a wide audience without trivializing it. There's dust and sun and long hot nights in her voice, and yet through the weary experience there's still the simplicity and sense of place and home inherited from the real American folk tradition. (bossert@suddensound.com)

Comments about live performance:

I was recently at Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and Emmylou was everywhere. Decent set on the main stage, and a great song swap with Gillian Welch in the park outside the festival. She sang back up for tons of people throughout the festival, but the highlight was when she and Alison Krauss joined Gillian Welch for one of their O Brother songs. (6/28/05, (neal)

a good mix of old and new stuff...the material from Wrecking Ball had a much more vibrant feel as opposed to the laid-back feel on the album. It was awesome. (c. 1995, Paul2k@aol.com) Emmy Lou Harris was up next and did a really great foot-stomping set (with some tender moments as well). Her drummer is soooooo cool! Really works hard, but smiles nearly all the time as he bangs away on his drums! And her voice is so beautiful and effortless.... (c. 1995, Riphug@aol.com)

Recommended first album:

Stumble Into Grace, Wrecking Ball, or Red Dirt Girl. Country fans may want to start with one of her early releases.

Recordings:


Pieces of the Sky

Release info:

1975—Reprise Records; reissued, 2004—Rhino Records—081227810825

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of Emmylou and/or country music

Group members:

Emmylou Harris—acoustic guitar, vocals

Guest artists:

Brian Ahern—acoustic guitar (1, 3, 6); bass (9)
Rick Cunha—acoustic guitar (1, 2, 4, 8); high-strung guitar (6, 7)
Fayssoux Starling—backing vocals (1, 2, 8, 9)
Herb Pedersen—banjo (3); 12-string guitar (4); acoustic guitar (9); backing vocals (1-4, 6, 9, 10)
Ray Pohlman—bass (1-4, 8)
Ron Tutt—drums (1-4, 6-8)
James Burton—guitar (1-4, 6); gut-string acoustic guitar (7, 8); dobro (8, 10)
Ben Keith—steel guitar (2, 4, 7, 8)
Bill Payne—piano (2, 4, 5, 9)
Glen D. Hardin—piano (1, 3, 6, 7, 10); electric piano (4, 8); string arrangement (2)
Bernie Leadon—banjo (1); acoustic guitar (6, 7); dobro (6); bass (7); backing vocals (6)
Richard Greene—violin (1)
Nick DeCaro—string arrangement (4, 9)
Bruce Archer—acoustic guitar (5, 10)
Tom Guidera—bass (5, 10)
Danny Pendleton—steel guitar (5, 10)
Ricky Skaggs—violin (5, 10); viola (5)
Duke Bardwell—bass (6)
Byron Berline—violin (8); mandolin (9)
Amos Garrett—guitar (9)
Linda Ronstadt—backing vocals (10)

Produced by:

Brian Ahern

Comments:

I'm not much of a country fan (preferring country-influenced music), but I really enjoy this album and the varieties of country it presents, from ballads to rollicking good times. At first, listening to it in 2008, it sounded quite dated, but that impression faded on subsequent listens. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Elite Hotel

Release info:

1975—Reprise Records—2286; reissued 2004—Rhino Records—081227810924

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of Emmylou and/or country music

Group members:

Emmylou Harris—guitar, vocals

Guest artists:

Brian Ahern—guitar, bass
James Burton, Rick Cunha, Amos Garrett, Bernie Leadon—guitar
Ben Keith, Hank DeVito—pedal steel guitar
Herb Pedersen—banjo, background vocals
Byron Berline—mandolin, fiddle
Mike Auldridge—dobro
Mickey Raphael—harmonica
Glen D. Hardin, Bill Payne—piano
Emory Gordy, Jr.—bass, background vocals
John Ware, Ron Tutt—drums
Fayssoux Starling, John Starling, Dianne Brooks—background vocals
Jonathan Edwards—vocals

Produced by:

Brian Ahern

Comments:

Another great album showcasing a variety of country styles and tempos. Emmylou is in great voice as always. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Luxury Liner

Release info:

1975—Warner Bros.—2998; reissued 2004—Rhino Records—081227811020

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of Emmylou and/or country music

Group members:

Emmylou Harris—vocals; acoustic guitar (5, 8, 10)

Guest artists:

Brian Ahern—guitar (1); acoustic guitar (2, 3, 6-10)
Rodney Crowell—acoustic guitar (3-5, 10); guitar (6); high-strung guitar (8); backing vocals (2, 5)
Emory Gordy, Jr.—bass
John Ware—drums
Glen D. Hardin—piano (1-3, 5-7, 9); electric piano (4, 8, 10); string arrangements and conducting (7)
Albert Lee—guitar (1-3, 5, 6, 9)
Hank DeVito—pedal steel guitar (1, 2, 4-10)
Ricky Skaggs—violin (1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9); mandolin (2)
Mickey Raphael—harmonica (2, 4, 7, 10)
Rick Cunha—acoustic guitar (2, 9)
Mike Auldridge—dobro (3, 7)
Albert Lee—acoustic guitar (4); mandolin (8); backing vocals (2, 6)
James Burton—guitar (4, 10)
Dianne Brooks—backing vocals (6)
Mickey Raphael—bass harmonica (8)
Herb Pedersen—backing vocals (1, 3, 10)
Fayssoux Starling—backing vocals (5, 7, 8, 10)
Dolly Parton—backing vocals (7)
Nicolette Larson—backing vocals (8)

Produced by:

Brian Ahern

Comments:

Not my favorite of Emmylou's early albums, but it's still a good album, and it shows Emmylou developing her vocal range, adding some grit. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town

Release info:

1978—Warner Bros.—3141; reissued 2004—Rhino Records— 081227811129

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Emmylou Harris—vocals, acoustic guitar

Guest artists:

Rodney Crowell (The Hot Band)—acoustic guitar
Albert Lee (The Hot Band)—electric guitar
Hank DeVito (The Hot Band)—pedal steel guitar
Glen D. Hardin (The Hot Band)—piano
Emory Gordy (The Hot Band)—bass
John Ware (The Hot Band)—drums
Willie Nelson—vocals (8)
Brian Ahern, James Burton—guitar
Mickey Raphael—harmonica
Ricky Skaggs—fiddle, viola
Rick Danko—fiddle
Garth Hudson—baritone saxophone, accordion
Fayssoux Starling, Nicolette Larson, Dianne Brooks—background vocals

Produced by:

Brian Ahern

Comments:

A classic album, and one of Emmylou's best. It's less strongly country and more folk. I love the addition of the 2 live tracks in Rhino's reissue—the country stompin' "New Cut Road" and the zydeco "LaCassine Special." (JoAnn Whetsell)

Profile: Best of Emmylou Harris

Release info:

1978—Warner Bros.—075992737524

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Emmylou Harris—vocals, guitar

Guest artists:

Albert Lee, Rodney Crowell—guitar, background vocals
James Burton, Brian Ahern, Bernie Leadon, Mike Auldridge, Rick Cunha—guitar
Hank Devito, Ben Keith—pedal steel guitar
Byron Berline—mandolin
Herb Pedersen—banjo, guitar, background vocals
Ricky Skaggs—fiddle
Mickey Raphael—harmonica
Emory Gordy—piano, bass
Glen D. Hardin, Bill Payne—piano
Ray Pohlman—bass
John Ware, Ron Tutt—drums
Nicolette Larson—vocals (12)
Fayssoux Starling, Dianne Brooks, Jonathan Edwards—background vocals

Produced by:

Brian Ahern

Comments:

A good sampling of Emmylou's early albums. There are no new tracks, so this will probably be of more interest to newcomers (to Emmylou and/or to this period of her work). (JoAnn Whetsell)

Blue Kentucky Girl

Release info:

1979—Warner Bros.—3318; reissued 2004—Rhino Records— 081227811228

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of Emmylou and/or country music

Group members:

Emmylou Harris—vocals, acoustic guitar
Albert Lee (The Hot Band)—guitar, mandolin
James Burton, Rodney Crowell (The Hot Band)—guitar
Hank DeVito (The Hot Band)—pedal steel guitar
Glen D. Hardin, Tony Brown (The Hot Band)—piano
Emory Gordy, Mike Bowden (The Hot Band)—bass
John Ware (The Hot Band)—drums
Ricky Skaggs—fiddle, background vocals
Brian Ahern—guitar, banjo
Ben Keith—pedal steel guitar
Mickey Raphael—harmonica
Lincoln Davis, Jr.—accordion
Bill Payne—piano
Duke Bardwell—bass
Ronnie Tutt—drums
Tanya Tucker, Sharon Hicks, Cheryl Warren, Don Everly, Glenn Campbell—vocals
Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt—background vocals

Produced by:

Brian Ahern

Comments:

By no means a bad album, but not one I listen to often. I find the mix of country styles on her earlier albums more compelling. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Light of the Stable

Release info:

1979 (reissued 2004)—Warner Bros.—081227611026

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Emmylou Harris—vocals, acoustic guitar

Guest artists:

Brian Ahern—guitar, gut-string guitar, autoharp, acoustic bass guitar, 6-string bass, banjo, percussion
Rodney Crowell—acoustic guitar
Frank Reckard—electric guitar
Hank DeVito—pedal steel guitar
Ricky Skaggs—banjo, mandolin, violin, fiddle, background vocals
Albert Lee—mandolin
Brian Bowers—autoharp
Glen D. Hardin—piano, keyboards
Tony Brown—Clavinet
Emory Gordy, Jr., Mike Bowden—bass
John Ware—drums
Nancy Ahern—vocals
Kate McGarrigle—accordion, keyboards, harmony vocals (12)
Anna McGarrigle—acoustic guitar, banjo, harmony vocals (12)
Cheryl White, Dolly Parton, Neil Young, Sharon White, Willie Nelson, Linda Ronstadt—background vocals

Produced by:

Brian Ahern

Comments:

A lovely country-folk album with an even mix of traditionals (6 tracks done) and contemporary songs (7 tracks which are even better). Overall it's a quiet album, and the song choices and recordings prove it to be a deeply spiritual one, concerned with the religious meaning of Christmas rather than the commercial side. "Cherry Tree Carol," "Man Is an Island," and "There's a Light" are new recordings for the 2004 reissue, but they fit so well into the original album (they're interspersed), I listened to the album many times before I knew they weren't on the original. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Roses in the Snow

Release info:

1980 (re-released 2002)—Warner Bros.—081227814021

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of Emmylou and/or country music

Group members:

Emmylou Harris—vocals; acoustic guitar (1, 4, 10)

Guest artists:

Brian Ahern—archtop guitar (1, 3-10); gut-string acoustic guitar (2); percussion, bass (3); 12-string acoustic guitar (4); acoustic guitar (5)
Ricky Skaggs—banjo (1, 4); acoustic guitar (2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10); violin (1, 2, 5-7, 9); mandolin (5, 6, 8); harmony vocals (2, 5, 8, 10); duet vocals (3, 7); lead vocals (5, 10)
Tony Rice—acoustic guitar (1, 2, 6-9); harmony vocals (6-8)
Albert Lee—mandolin (1, 2, 4, 7-10); guitar (6, 7)
Emory Gordy, Jr.—bass (1, 2, 4-10)
Jerry Douglas—dobro (2, 3, 6)
John Ware—percussion (2)
Bryan Bowers—autoharp (3, 4, 10)
Willie Nelson—gut-string acoustic guitar (3)
Buck White—piano (9)
The Whites—harmony vocals (1, 4)
Dolly Parton—harmony vocals (3)
Johnny Cash—harmony vocals (8)
Linda Ronstadt—duet and harmony vocals (10)

Produced by:

Brian Ahern

Comments:

There are a few hillbilly-sounding songs that I don't care for, but they're easy to overlook because this album has so much else to recommend it—a beautiful version of "Wayfaring Stranger," a terrific cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Boxer" that transforms it into a country song, and two gorgeous spirituals ("Green Pastures" and "Jordan"). (JoAnn Whetsell)

Evangeline

Release info:

1981

Availability:

Out of print

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans

Group members:

Emmylou Harris—acoustic guitar—3-5, 7); vocals, harmony vocals

Guest artists:

Brian Ahern—acoustic guitar (1, 9); archtop guitar (2); gut-string guitar, tambourine (3); electric rhythm guitar (4); six-string bass (3, 6, 7)
Frank Reckard—acoustic guitar (1); guitar (3, 4, 6)
Ricky Skaggs—fiddle (1, 5, 7, 8); mandolin (2, 3); acoustic guitar (3, 7); harmony vocals (7)
Hank DeVito—pedal steel guitar (1, 3, 4, 6-8)
Tony Brown—piano (1, 6)
Glen D. Hardin—electric piano (1, 8, 10)
Emory Gordy—bass (1-3, 5-10)
John Ware— drums (1, 4, 6, 8); percussion (2, 3, 7)
James Burton—guitar (1)
Tony Rice—lead acoustic guitar (2); harmony vocals (7)
Jerry Douglas—dobro (2)
Albert Lee—electric guitar (2); piano (4); lead guitar (5, 8, 9)
Bill Payne—electric piano (2, 9); piano (8)
Mickey Raphael—harmonica (3, 7, 10) Mike Bowden—bass (4)
Don Johnson—piano, harmony vocals (4)
Larrie Londin—drums (5)
David Briggs—piano (5)
Rodney Crowell—acoustic guitar (6, 10); electric rhythm guitar (8)
Steve Fishell—dobro (7)
Dave Lewis—drums (9)
Hal Blaine—drums (10)
Amos Garrett—guitar (10)
Mac Rebbenack—piano (10)
Lynn Langham—synthesizer (10)
Craig Safari—string arrangements, conducting (1)
Cheryl Warren, Sharon White—harmony vocals (2)
Waylon Jennings—harmony vocals (3)
Barry Tashian—harmony vocals (4, 8)
Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt—harmony vocals (5, 9)
Herb Pedersen—harmony vocals (6)

Produced by:

Brian Ahern

Comments:

Emmylou has such a fantastic voice and such great taste in material and collaborators that she simply doesn't make any bad albums. Still, this odds 'n' sods collection is really for fans. The genres represented range from easy listening-type pop to bluegrass to regular country to honky tonk. James Taylor's "Millworker" is the kind of folk-pop narrative ballad that's perfectly suited to Emmylou, and the cover is one of the album's best tracks, as is the final song "Ashes By Now," which is edgier than the rest of the material. Perhaps the best reason to locate this disc, though, is the very cute version of "Mister Sandman" originally recorded during the Trio sessions with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Last Date

Release info:

1982—Warner Bros.—9237404; reissued 2008—Rhino Encore—081227991036

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Emmylou Harris—vocals, guitar

Guest artists:

Barry Tashian—vocals, guitar, banjo
Wayne Goodwin—guitar, mandolin, fiddle, saxophone
Frank Reckard—guitar, background vocals
Steve Fishell—pedal steel guitar, dobro
Mike Bowden—bass
John Ware—drums

Produced by:

Brian Ahern; reissue producers: Monty Hitchcock, Steve Wilkison

Comments:

Mostly up-tempo country. The loveliest is the ballad "Racing in the Streets." There's no inter-song banter, so you don't get a sense of Emmylou's personality and that makes it feel less like a live album. (JoAnn Whetsell)

White Shoes

Release info:

1983—Warner Bros.—075992396127

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Emmylou Harris—vocals, guitar

Guest artists:

Brian Ahern—guitar, bass, tambourine
T-Bone Burnett, Johnnie McFee, Frank Reckard, Barry Tashian, Rodney Crowell—guitar
Steve Fishell, Hank DeVito—pedal steel
Jim Horn—recorder
Mickey Raphael—harmonica
Wayne Goodwin—baritone saxophone
Don Johnson, Glen D. Hardin, Tony Brown—piano
Billy Payne—piano, synthesizer
Mike Bowden—bass
Keith Knudsen, Don Heffington, John Ware—drums
Bonnie Bramlett, Barbara Bennett, Shirley Eikhard—background vocals

Produced by:

Brian Ahern

Comments:

An okay album (I don't think Emmylou is capable of making a bad one). It has a very early '80s country-rock sound, and listening to it 25 years after its release, it sounds very dated (much more so than some of Emmylou's other work, including some of her earlier work). However, the last track, Sandy Denny's "Like an Old Fashioned Waltz" is really lovely. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Bluebird

Release info:

1989—Reprise Records

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Emmylou Harris—vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion; rhythm electric guitar (3)

Guest artists:

Richard Bennett—acoustic, electric, 12-string and 6-string guitars, 6-string bass, percussion; mandolin (10)
Glen D. Hardin—acoustic piano, Ensonic synthesizer
Steve Fishell—pedal steel, acoustic dobro
David Pomeroy—acoustic, electric and upright electric basses
Billy Thomas—drums, percussion; background vocals (1, 10)
Kieran Kane—mandolin
Kate McGarrigle—accordion; background vocals (4, 8)
Anna McGarrigle—background vocals (4, 8)
Bonnie Raitt—electric slide guitar and background vocals (3)
Michael Henderson—electric slide guitar (5)
Kenny Malone—percussion (6)
Emory Gordy, Jr.—string arrangements and conducting
Glen Duncan, Marty Stuart, Mark O'Connor—mandolin (10)
Harry Stinson—background vocals (1, 2, 10)
Billy Thomas—background vocals (1, 10)
Barry Tashian—background vocals (1, 7, 10)
Ashley Cleveland—background vocals (2)
Pam Rose, Mary Ann Kennedy—background vocals (5)
Donivan Cowart—background vocals (7)

Produced by:

Richard Bennett and Emmylou Harris

Comments:

A lovely album, especially the cover of Tom Rush's "No Regrets." (JoAnn Whetsell)

Brand New Dance

Release info:

1990—Warner Bros

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Emmylou Harris—vocals, acoustic guitar

Guest artists:

Richard Bennett—acoustic guitar, psycho tremolo guitar, requinto, electric guitar, mandolin guitarophone, tambourine, tiplé & six-string bass
Chris Leuzinger—acoustic & electric guitar
Glenn Worf—bass (1)
Harry Stinson—drums (1, 2)
Bobby Wood—electric piano & organ, keyboards, organ, piano
John Jarvis—piano (1, 2)
Bruce Bouton—steel guitar
Iris DeMent—harmony vocals (1, 9)
Barry Tashian—harmony vocals (1, 6)
Garry Tallent—bass (2)
Bob Wray—bass (3-5, 8, 9)
Milton Sledge—drums (3-5, 8, 9); percussion (4, 9)
Cindy Reynolds Wyatt—harp
The Nashville String Machine (Connie Ellisor, Carl Gorodetzky, James Grosjean, Lee Larrison, Ted Madsen, Robert Mason, Dennis Molchan, Laura Molyneaux, Pamela Sixfin, Mark Tanner, Gary Vanosdale, Kristin Wilkinson)—strings
Kostas, Claire Lynch—harmony vocals (3)
Kathy Chiavola, Wayland Patton—harmony vocals (4, 5)
Pete Wasner—acoustic piano (6); piano (10)
Roy Huskey, Jr.—bass (6, 10)
Stuart Duncan—fiddle (6); mandolin (10)
Jo-El Sonnier—French accordion, triangle (6)
Melba Montgomery—harmony vocal (6)
Dave Pomeroy—bass (7)
James Hollihan—electric slide guitar (7)
Marshall Chapman—harmony vocal (7)
Kieran Kane, Jamie O'Hara—harmony vocals (8)
Kenny Malone—field drum (9); percussion (10)
Liam O'Flynn, Davey Spillane—Uilleann pipes, whistles (9)
Mary Black, Delores Keane—harmony vocals (9)
Pete Gorisch—cello (10)

Produced by:

Richard Bennett and Allen Reynolds

Comments:

Another well-done album that blends country, pop, and folk, even Celtic music on the title track. I particularly like the heartbreak songs like "In His World" and "Easy for You to Say." (JoAnn Whetsell)

Wrecking Ball

Release info:

1995—Elektra—61854-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Emmylou Harris—guitar, vocals

Guest artists:

Daniel Lanois —mandolin, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, percussion, dulcimer, duet vocal, chant vocal
Brian Blade—bass, drums, Indian hand drum
Daryl Johnson—tom tom, keyboard bass, drum kit bass pedals, harmonic bass, high harmony vocal, harmony vocal, chant vocal, background vocal
Malcolm Burn—piano, tambourine, vibes, organ, tom tom, sci-fi synth, keyboards, drums, bass, guitar, backing vocals
Larry Mullen, Jr.—hand drum, drum kit, drums, cymbal
Tony Hall—shaker, bass
Steve Earle—finger picking acoustic guitar
Sam O'Sullivan—roto wheel
Neil Young—harmony vocal, harmonica
Kufaru Mouton—percussion
Richard Bennett—guitar
Kate & Anna McGarrigle—backing vocals

Produced by:

Daniel Lanois

Comments:

Based on ecto-recommendations, I picked up the new Emmylou Harris. Very nice—sounds a lot like the mellower side of Maria McKee mixed with Joan Osborne. Think this one will really grow on me. (jjhanson@att.net)

Simply brilliant. It's like all of Emmylou's styles in one—country and folk, sweetness and rough edges, tenderness and rawness, lightness and intensity. (JoAnn Whetsell)

I highly recommend this one. (ptv@scm-metals.com)

Okay, so this is really a Daniel Lanois album with Emmylou singing. It's still stunning, amazing, (your favorite superlative here). All of you should run right out and buy it immediately. Pretty cool. (meth@smoe.org)

Daniel Lanois waves his magic wand again and makes this the oddest, and most beautiful, "country" album I've ever heard.
  Has anyone else picked up this wonderful new album by Emmylou Harris? It's wonderful! Thanks are due in part to the producer, Daniel Lanois, who's most famous for producing the last few U2 albums (his solo albums are splendid as well). It's shimmering and raw and not what you'd expect from a "country" artist at all! I mean, how many country artists do you know of that can cover Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Neil Young on a single album and pull it off?
  A Sissy Hankshaw-sized thumbs up from this reporter. (dixon@physics.berkeley.edu)

Oh yes! Ecto and *not* "country"! (zzkwhite@ktwu.wuacc.edu)

Emmylou has a new CD out with a bunch of very cool covers produced by Daniel Lanois of various fames, Wrecking Ball, and it is excellent, a la Lanois' other work—same vein. (mjmjminla@yahoo.com)

I couldn't believe who I was listening to! I doubt it will be a hit with the country crowd, but I like what I've heard. (carnivore@bigfoot.com)


Spyboy

Release info:

1998—Eminent Records—EM-25001-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Emmylou Harris

Guest artists:

Brady Blade—vocals, drums, percussion
Buddy Miller—vocals, lead electric, 12-string and mando guitar
Daryl Johnson—vocals, djembe, bass guitar, bass pedals, percussion

Produced by:

Buddy Miller and Emmylou Harris

Comments:

This is the album that made me love Emmylou. It was probably the second album of hers I listened to in full (after Stumble Into Grace). And upon first listen (there have been many since), I loved the album and loved HER. For me, it really captures everything that is Emmylou—folk, country, rock, pop, quiet, fierceness, beauty, grit. It draws on songs spanning 20 years of recording and weaves them seamlessly in a sort of contemporary alternative mix that expands on the sonic textures of Wrecking Ball. (JoAnn Whetsell)

spyboy covers a variety of songs from her career, some very old and some very new, many of the former are reinterpreted with the band. if anyone saw her live in the past couple years, this record is a great way to remember it and anyone not all that familiar with her music except for wrecking ball (i.e., me) may enjoy the glimpses backwards through time. i know i did and will. (woj@smoe.org)


Red Dirt Girl

Release info:

2000—Nonesuch—79616-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Emmylou Harris—acoustic guitar, baritone electric guitar, vocals

Guest artists:

Malcolm Burn—bass, synth bass, drum box programming, piano, electric guitar, 12-string guitar, acoustic guitar, Fender Rhodes, tambourine, percussion, dulcimer, synth, harmonica, omnichord, drums, harmony vocals
Ethan Johns—electric guitar, baritone electric guitar, acoustic guitar, e-bow, drums, omnichord, percussion, mando cello
Jill Cunniff—electric guitar, bass, harmony vocals
Daryl Johnson—bass, chord bass, bass pedals, percussion, baritone acoustic guitar, harmony vocals
Buddy Miller—pedal steel, electric guitar, mando guitar
Renee Coman—bass Julie Miller—harmony vocals (3, 9, 12)
Patti Scialfa—duet vocal (4)
Bruce Springsteen—harmony vocal (4)
Patty Griffin—harmony vocal (6, 10)
Kate McGarrigle—accordion (8); piano, harmony vocals (12)
Jim Watts—Fender Rhodes (8)
John Deaderick—Fender Rhodes (9)
Carlo Nuccio—drums (9)
Dave Matthews—duet vocal (11)

Produced by:

Malcolm Burn

Comments:

Emmylou Harris' latest hasn't caught me like Wrecking Ball (then again, Malcolm Burn isn't quite the genius Daniel Lanois is). (paul2k@aol.com)

A beautifully realized album of alt-folk-country, carried by Emmylou's always angelic voice. The overall feel/mood is peaceful, though not necessarily gentle, and there are tracks that are more up-tempo and rocking. I don't love the cover of Patty Griffin's "One Big Love," but that song may stand out to me because it's the only cover for which I'm familiar with the original recording. (JoAnn Whetsell)


Stumble into Grace

Release info:

2003—Nonesuch—79805-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Emmylou Harris—acoustic guitar, 6-string bass guitar, vocals, backing vocals

Guest artists:

Tony Hall—bass, guitar, backing vocals
Brady Blade—drums, percussion, backing vocals
Ethan Johns—drums, electric guitar
Malcolm Burn—bass, electric guitar, piano, churanga, whistling, Fender Rhodes, percussion, harmonica, B2 organ, other things, backing vocals
Buddy Miller—acoustic guitar, electric guitar
Daryl Johnson—percussion, bass, drums, backing vocals
Daniel Lanois—pedal steel guitar, electric orchestra, backing vocals
Bernie Leadon—electric guitar (5)
Kevin Salem—electric guitar
Colin Linden—electric guitar (7)
Julie Miller—backing vocals (1, 7, 11)
Jane Siberry—backing vocals (2, 4, 5, 10)
Kate McGarrigle—accordion (3, 8); backing vocals (3, 8, 9, 11); violin, acoustic guitar (9)
Anna McGarrigle—backing vocals (3, 8, 9); accordion (9)
Linda Ronstadt—backing vocals (6)
Gillian Welch—backing vocals (7)
Jill Cunniff—backing vocals (8)

Produced by:

Malcolm Burn

Comments:

An exquisite piece of work. Most happy to see the collaboration with the McGarrigles. Would assume they've been friends since she covered Anna's "Heart Like a Wheel." Hope they do more together. As much as I love the look back to her roots in Red Dirt Girl, this album does more for me. I like its exploration of lofty themes. (edcole@halcyon.com)

A stunningly beautiful album. Perhaps her best. (JoAnn Whetsell)

One of my favorite CDs of 2003. (jjhanson@att.net)


The Very Best of Emmylou Harris: Heartaches and Highways

Release info:

2005—Rhino/Warner—R2 73123

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Emmylou Harris—vocals, acoustic guitar, guitar

Guest artists:

Gram Parsons—lead vocals, acoustic guitar (1)
James Burton—electric guitar (1, 2, 5, 8-10)
Herb Pedersen—acoustic rhythm guitar (1); 12-string guitar (2); banjo (5, 9); background vocals (2, 5); harmony vocals (3, 9)
Al Perkins—pedal steel guitar (1)
Glen D. Hardin—piano (1, 3-5, 8-10, 13); electric piano (2); string arrangement (8, 10); conducting (8)
Emory Gordy—bass (1, 3-5, 8, 10, 13, 14)
Ronnie Tutt—drums (1, 2, 9)
Rick Cunha—acoustic guitar (2, 4)
Ben Keith—pedal steel (2, 9)
Bill Payne—piano (2)
Ray Pohlman—bass (2, 9)
Nick DeCaro—string arrangement (2)
Brian Ahern—acoustic guitar (3-5, 9, 10, 13); gut-strung guitar (14, 20); baritone electric, 12-string guitar (20); percussion (7)
Rodney Crowell—acoustic guitar (3); high-strung guitar (8); backing vocals (4)
Albert Lee—electric guitar (3, 4, 13); acoustic guitar (8, 12); piano (13); mandolin (14); backing vocals (4)
Hank DeVito—pedal steel (3-5, 8, 10, 13)
Mike Auldridge—dobro (3)
Ricky Skaggs—fiddle (3, 14); mandolin (4); acoustic guitar, harmony vocals (14)
John Ware—drums (3-8, 10, 13); percussion (14)
Mickey Raphael—harmonica (4, 13)
Byron Berline—mandolin (5, 9)
Johnathon Edwards—background vocals (5)
Barry Tashian—rhythm guitar, duet vocals (6); acoustic guitar, harmony vocals (7)
Frank Reckard—lead guitar (6, 7)
Steve Fishell—pedal steel (6); acoustic Hawaiian guitar, percussion (7)
Don Johnson—electric piano (6, 7)
Mike Bowden—bass (6, 7)
Wayne Goodwin—tenor sax (6)
Donivan Cowart—harmony vocals (7)
Fayssoux Starling—harmony vocals (8); background vocals (10, 20)
Dianne Brooks—background vocals (10, 13)
Trevor Veitch—acoustic guitar (11)
Gerry McGee—electric lead guitar (11)
Jai Winding—piano (11)
John Pierce—bass (11)
Ed Greene—drums (11)
Craig Safan—string arrangement, conducting (11)
Roy Orbison—duet vocals (11)
Ry Cooder—tremolo guitar (12)
David Lindley—Kona Hawaiian guitar, mandolin (12)
Kenny Edwards—Ferrington acoustic bass (12)
Russ Kunkel—drums (12)
Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt—vocals (12)
Tony Rice—lead acoustic guitar (14)
Jerry Douglas—dobro (14)
Jon Randall Stewart (The Nash Ramblers)—acoustic guitar, mandolin, harmony vocals (15)
Sam Bush (The Nash Ramblers)—mandolin, fiddle, harmony vocals (15)
Al Perkins (The Nash Ramblers)—dobro, banjo, acoustic guitar, harmony vocals (15)
Roy Huskey, Jr. (The Nash Ramblers)—upright bass, harmony vocals (15)
Larry Atamanuik (The Nash Ramblers)—drums, percussion, harmony vocals (15)
Buddy Miller—vocals, lead electric, 12-string, mando guitar (16)
Daryl Johnson—vocals, djembe, bass guitar, bass pedals, percussion (16); harmony vocal (17)
Brady Blade—vocals, percussion (16); drums (16, 19)
Daniel Lanois—mandolin, dulcimer (17)
Larry Mullen, Jr.—hand drum (17)
Tony Hall—stick drum (17); guitar, bass (19)
Malcolm Burn—tambourine (17); bass, drum box programming (18); everything else (19)
Ethan Johns—electric guitar (18); drums (19)
Julie Miller—backing vocals (19)
Randy Sharp—acoustic guitar, background vocals (20)
Jim Hoke—harmonica (20)
John Baldwin—beatbox (20)

Produced by:

Compilation produced by Emmylou Harris & James Austin; Individual tracks produced by Gram Parsons (1); Brian Ahern (2-11, 13, 14; 20); George Massenburg (12); Allen Reynolds & Richard Bennett (15); Buddy Miller & Emmylou Harris (16); Daniel Lanois (17); Malcolm Burn (18, 19)

Comments:

A nice collection, but likely to be of more interest to longtime fans than newcomers. People who don't like country music will probably want to stay away. (JoAnn Whetsell)

All I Intended to Be

Release info:

2008—Nonesuch—480444-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Emmylou Harris—vocals, acoustic guitar, bouzouki, baritone guitar, guitar

Guest artists:

Brian Ahern—12-string guitars, baritone electric guitar, Tic-Tac bass, Afuche, Earthwood bass, banjo
Tim Goodman—acoustic guitar
Emory Gordy—bass
Jim Horn—recorders
Keith Knudsen—drums
John McPhee—Cordovox and electric guitars
Bill Payne—keyboards
Glen D. Hardin—keyboards
Greg Leisz—slide electric guitar, steel, Weisenborn, mandocello
Harry Stinson—drums
Kenny Vaughn—electric guitar
Glen Worf—bass
Steve Fishell—steel
Phil Madeira—accordion
David Pomeroy—bass
Pam Rose—harmony, acoustic guitar, vocals
Patrick Warren—keyboards
Tom Gray—bass
Stuart Duncan—mandolin, fiddle
Karen Brooks—harmonies (1, 4, 7)
Jack Routh, Lynn Langham—harmonies (1)
Randy Sharp—harmonies and vocal arrangements (1)
Buddy Miller—harmonies (1, 2); vocals (8)
Mary Ann Kennedy—harmony, mandolin, vocals
Dolly Parton— harmony vocals (5)
Vince Gill— harmony vocals (5)
Kate McGarrigle—vocals, gut-string guitar (6, 12); banjo solo (6)
Anna McGarrigle—vocals (6, 12) backing vocals (3, 8, 9); accordion (9)
Richard Bennett—acoustic guitar (7, 8)
Mike Auldridge—vocals, dobro (9, 10, 13)
John Starling—duet vocal, acoustic guitar (9, 10)
Fats Kaplan—mandolin (9)

Produced by:

Brian Ahern

Comments:

Another lovely album. Kind of similar to 2003's Stumble into Grace, but harkens back to her early country days more. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Hard Bargain

Release info:

2011—Nonesuch—525966-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Emmylou Harris—vocals, acoustic guitars

Guest artists:

Jay Joyce—electric guitars, bass guitar, hi-string guitars, acoustic guitar, synth, piano, Omnichord, ganjo, mandolin
Giles Reaves—drums, Wurlitzer piano, picked piano, pump organ, organ, synth, piano, vibraphone, djembe, marimbula, Moog bass, Rhodes, shaker

Produced by:

Jay Joyce

Comments:

This is a lovely album though it doesn't reach the heights of Wrecking Ball or Stumble Into Grace. "My Name Is Emmett Till" and "Darlin' Kate" are particularly moving. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Further info:

VIDEOS
Video releases include:

  • Spyboy Live (VHS, 1999; DVD, 2000)
  • In My Own Style (DVD, 2004)
  • Real Live Roadrunning with Mark Knopfler (2006)
  • Rock Masters (DVD, 2008)
Other video appearances include:

  • A Vision Shared: A Tribute to Woody Guthrie & Leadbelly (1991)
  • The Best of Sessions at West 54th, Vol. 1 (1997)
  • In the Hank Williams Tradition (2002)
  • Dolly Parton and Friends (2007)
COMPILATIONS
Emmylou's recordings have appeared on many compilation albums. Songs only available on compilations include:

  • "Precious Memories" on Amazing Grace: A Country Salute to Gospel (1995)
  • "Slow Surprise" on The Horse Whisperer soundtrack (1998)
  • "Barbara Allen" on the Songcatcher soundtrack (2001)
  • "Cabaret" on the Because of Winn-Dixie soundtrack (2005)
  • "A Love That Will Never Grow Old" on the Brokeback Mountain soundtrack (2005)
  • "The Speed of Sound" on the Hottest State soundtrack (2007)
  • "In Rodanthe" on the Nights in Rodanthe soundtrack (2010)
  • "Long Time Girl Gone By" on Kin: Songs By Mary Karr & Rodney Crowell (2012)
  • "I Didn't Know It Was You" on Mercyland: Hymns for the Rest of Us (2012)
Live tracks only available on compilations include:

  • "Sweet Sorrow in the Wind" on Women Live from Mountain Stage (1996)
  • "Going Back to Harlan" on Lilith Fair: A Celebration of Women in Music (1998)
  • "Deeper Well" on Lilith Fair, Volume 3 (1999)
  • "Green Pastures" on Down From the Mountain: Live Concert Performances by the Artists & Musicians of O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2001)
  • "Wrecking Ball" on The Best of Sessions at West 54th (2001)
  • "The Pearl" on Concerts for a Landmine Free World (2001)
Songs recorded for tribute albums include:

  • "No Regrets (Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien)" for Tribute to Edith Piaf (1994)
  • "Love Still Remains" for Treasures Left Behind: Remembering Kate Wolf (1998)
  • 3 duets on Return of the Grievous Angel: A Tribute to Gram Parsons (1999)
  • "Icy Blue Heart" for It'll Come to You... The Songs of John Hiatt (2003)
  • "My Baby's Gone" with Rodney Crowell for Livin', Lovin', Losin': Songs of the Louvin Brothers (2003)
  • "To Daddy" for Just Because I'm a Woman: Songs of Dolly Parton (2003)
  • "On the Sea of Galilee" with The Peasall Sisters for Unbroken Circle: The Musical Heritage of the Carter Family (2004)
  • "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" for A Tribute To Nicolette Larson: Lotta Love Concert (2006)
  • "Song to John" for Anchored In Love: A Tribute to June Carter Cash (2007)
  • "The Magdalene Laundries" for A Tribute To Joni Mitchell (2007)
  • "Magnolia Wind" on This One's for Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark (2011)
COLLABORATIONS
Collaborations include:

  • "If I Needed You" with Don Williams on his album Lord I Hope This Day Is Good (1981)
  • "Angel" with Sarah McLachlan on Lilith Fair: A Celebration of Women in Music, Volume 2 (1999)
  • "Juanita" with Sheryl Crow, "She" with The Pretenders, and "Sin City" with Beck on Return of the Grievous Angel: A Tribute to Gram Parsons (1999)
  • "Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby" with Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack (2000)
  • "Way Beyond the Blue" with Patty Griffin on the Where the Heart Is soundtrack (2000)
  • "Lost on the River" and "Alone and Forsaken" with Mark Knopfler on Timeless: Hank Williams Tribute (2001)
  • "Boulder to Birmingham" with The Fray on the deluxe version of their album Scars & Stories (2012)
  • "Don't Touch Me" with Jamey Johnson on his album Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran (2012)


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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