What can I say, I have been listening to Emmylou Harris al ot recently. There is something about her voice that just touches my soul. Her voice is full of character and soars beautifully. One of my favourite albums is Red Dirt Girl. There are many great cuts on this disc. One song, “My Antonia,” he sings this song with Dave Matthews and it is out of this world. Their voices work so well together. Emmylou covers a lot of other people’s songs. There is one called Blackhawk that was written by Daniel Lanois. It is quintessentially Canadian referencing the Dofasco steel plant and a book store on ‘St. Clair.’ It is on the Wrecking Ball album, another song written by a Canadian: Neil Young. Other stand outs on this album are “Sweet Old World” which she sings with Neil Young and “Waltz Across Texas Tonight.”
Most people know Emmylou Harris as a country singer. Wrecking Ball marked a shift in the kind of music she made. While it still has that country twang here and there it is by far more eclectic. In 2006 she teamed up with Mark Knopfler and they released “All the Roadrunning.” This album has some great tracks as well. “If this is Goodbye.” is an absolute gem. I also love “This is Us” which is a lovely song about the course of a relationship and how things change. I think this album contributed to the later collaboration of Allison Krauss and Robert Plant. Their album “Raising Sand” seems to be in the same vein: two veteran musicians from very diverse musical genres collaboration to produce something completely different. In my opinion, the Emmylou/Mark collaboration is stronger.
I think what really appeals to me about Emmylou Harris is her unique phrasing. Her style is quite different from mainstream music. She has a bit of an edge to her voice that really appeals to me. I am not really a fan of the ‘perfect voice’ like Celine Dion for example. So, if you are looking for something different I suggest starting with “Wrecking Ball” or “Red Dirt Girl.” You won’t be disappointed.