Great. Odd. Cool. Naff. Elegant. Country.
The voice is beginning to work a little harder occasionally, but it’s still pretty amazing. The sound system was a teensy-smeensy bit too loud, but overall, she delivered. The standout (for the post-Lanois crowd) was ‘Goodbye’, but for the pre-reinvention crowd, it was probably ‘Boulder to Birmingham’ or ‘Born to Run’. It was a night of odd juxtapositions. People old enough to be my parents clapped along at the really country material, while the younger set were slightly bemused. I got the impression that the crumblies were nodding politely during the credible stuff.
Yet Harris herself delivers the material from each of her incarnations with reverence. And her current credibility works retrospectively; it’s hard to imagine her ever being a slightly campy country belle regardless of the hokey material. The voice is so spectral and other-worldly that it imbues any track with gravitas.
She’s not the most comfortable or charming stage presence; her banter was somewhat politely generic, but the few flashes of genuine smiles came from her when the audience applauded the new material. Which is a good sign…
If Warners/Nonesuch were to ask me to compile an introductory Best Of, this is what I’d suggest. (this was very hard, as I had enough wonderful Emmylou moments for two CDs.
- Goodbye from Wrecking Ball
- Michelangelo from Red Dirt Girl
- Heaven Only Knows from Anthology: The Warner/Reprise Years
- O Evangeline from Stumble Into Grace
- Here, There And Everywhere from Anthology: The Warner/Reprise Years
- A Love That Will Never Grow Old from Brokeback Mountain OST
- Tougher Than The Rest from Brand New Dance
- My Antonia from Red Dirt Girl
- Orphan Girl from Wrecking Ball
- Born To Run from Anthology: The Warner/Reprise Years
- I Still Miss Someone from Anthology: The Warner/Reprise Years
- Boulder To Birmingham from Anthology: The Warner/Reprise Years
- Wrecking Ball from Wrecking Ball
- Mister Sandman from Anthology: The Warner/Reprise Years
- Hold On from All I Intended To Be
- Sonny (Mary Black with Emmylou Harris and Dolores Keane) from Twenty-Five Years Twenty-Five Songs
- Loving The Highwayman (Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris) from Western Wall : The Tucson Sessions
- To Know Him Is To Love Him (Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris) from Trio
- Sweet Old World from Wrecking Ball