Heartaches & Highways – The Very Best Of Emmylou Harris

Emmylou Harris' "Heartaches & Highways" Compilation Was Released In 2005

Emmylou Harris' "Heartaches & Highways" Compilation Was Released In 2005

A compilation like this one is particularly useful when it comes to artists whose catalogs are colossal in depth. You see, “Heartaches & Highways” (2005) is an anthology which was assembled by Emmylou herself. It is interesting to listen to the story the way she wants to tell it. If you are an old fan, you get to see which songs she deems as the ones that shaped her career. And if you are a newcomer, you have the chance of sampling the songs she might like to be remembered by, effectively getting acquainted with her music like that.

Although not strictly a “best of” album, the CD definitely leans on hits, as her first song to hit the charts with force (“If I Could Only Win Your Love”) is included amid a series of tunes that she has either turned into standards or rejuvenated completely, such as “Two More Bottles Of Wine”, “Lost His Love In Our Last Date” and the sweet “To Know Him Is To Love Him” from the celebrated “Trio” album:

A nice choice (and one that clearly strays from a “very best” motif) is “Pancho & Lefty”. Emmylou’s version precedes the successful take by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. While the ones who struck gold where the two outlaws, Emmylou at least pointed the way to the treasure in a very elegant way indeed.

An absolute highlight is her duet with Roy Orbison on “That Lovin’ You Feelin’”. The mix is crisper than the one I had listened to on her “Duets” album, too. The difference is not pronounced, but the guitars have more space and the song on the whole sounds even more refined. Continue reading

At The Ryman (Emmylou Harris) – Album Review

The Album Earned Emmylou A Grammy

The Album Earned Emmylou A Grammy

This celebrated live album had Emmylou backed by one of the best ensembles of her whole career (The Nash Ramblers), and it earned her a Grammy. The concert was so significant that the Ryman auditorium (which was set to be demolished) was actually preserved and remodeled.

The set Emmylou played that night paid equal debt to both classic and contemporary American tunesmiths. Songs by Stephen Foster (“Hard Times”) were played side to side with songs by John Fogerty (“Lodi”) and Bruce Springsteen (“Mansion On The Hill”).

The performance itself is not only very well-recorded, but Emmylou is charming from start to finish, interacting with the public at every turn, cracking jokes and narrating stories of her life on the road – the one before “Lodi” is one of the funniest I have ever listened to. Continue reading

Duets (Emmylou Harris) – Album Review

A '90s Picture Of Emmylou Stands As The Cover Of The Album

A '90s Picture Of Emmylou Stands As The Cover Of The Album

As I mentioned in the general introduction, this was the first album by a country artist that I ever bought. Leaving aside the sentimental value that I consequently attach to the CD, I must say that it is consistently good – even when I know that it was assembled more or less in a hurry to capitalize on the success of the “Trio” album.

Emmylou’s duet partner include Gram Parsons, Willie Nelson, John Denver, Roy Orbison and Ricky Scaggs along with The Band and Southern Pacific (the band Stu Cook from Creedence Clearwater Revival was to join shortly).

The highlights of the record are undoubtedly the three songs that hit the top 10 upon their respective release dates: “Love Hurts” (with Parsons),”That Lovin’ You Feelin” (with Orbison) and the duet with John Denver on “Wild Montana Skies”. Continue reading

Emmylou Harris – General Introduction

A Young Emmylou Harris

Emmylou Harris In The '70s

Emmylou Harris was born in 1947 in Birmingham, Alabama. She was discovered by Gram Parsons and assumed vocal duties with the man who we now deem as one of the fathers of country rock, cutting the timeless duet “Love Hurts”. She was to eventually establish herself as one of the most distinguished female performers within country music along with Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton, and as a true point of reference within music as a whole. Continue reading