Music

The Life and Songs of Emmylou Harris (CD/Blu-ray)

The Life & Songs of Emmylou Harris: An All-Star Concert Celebration
Label: Rounder Records
The first time I saw and heard Emmylou Harris in concert, a few decades ago, I was seated next to a fellow who attended with a pad of paper and some charcoal crayons. As Emmylou warbled and wooed through her rockin’, plaintive, dancehall, desert island set, the guy drew. And drew. By the end of evening, he had produced dozens of intriguing images of the singer and songwriter. Still, the stack of sketches of varying moods didn’t capture a complete portrait. There is something almost inexpessible about her kind of natural beauty — like the way a glorious sunset can never truly be caught in a mere photograph. You have to be there.
Good news — for those of us who weren’t there at Washington, DC’s DAR Constitution Hall on January 10, 2015, the once-in-a-lifetime gathering of artists paying tribute to Emmylou Harris, the evening has been preserved on CD, DVD and Blu-ray. The recording of that event, The Life & Songs of Emmylou Harris: An All-Star Concert Celebration, was created and produced by Keith Wortman, CEO of Blackbird Presents. Better news — it is presented in stunning HD with true Dolby 5.1 surround stereo. In other words, you will feel like you are there.
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The house band, led by co-musical directors Buddy Miller (guitars) and Don Was (bass), featured Sam Bush (mandolin, banjo, fiddle), Audley Freed (guitars), Fred Eltringham (drums), Matt Rollings (keyboards), Greg Leisz (pedal steel, lap steel), and Sara Watkins (fiddle, harmony vocals).
The set features an astounding array of performances by Harris’ peers and admirers, including Mary Chapin Carpenter, Chris Coleman, Shawn Colvin, Sheryl Crow, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Vince Gill, Patty Griffin, Chris Hillman, Iron & Wine, Alison Krauss, Kris Kristofferson, Daniel Lanois, Martina McBride, Lee Ann Womack, The Milk Carton Kids, Buddy Miller, Conor Oberst,  Herb Pedersen, Shovels & Rope, Mavis Staples, John Starling, Trampled by Turtles, Sara Watkins, Holly Williams, Lucinda Williams, and Emmylou Harris herself. The array of talent onstage is a reminder of what a pioneer and connector Emmylou Harris has been for so many artists in the subgenres of American country, folk, rock and roots music.
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The evening’s most stunning performances come from some surprising participants (Holly Williams just about steals the show) and a very reliable one (Alison Krauss does, of course, steal the show). The perfectly-performed concert is full of heart from the opening note to the final burst of applause. It arrives just in time for a possible gift for that loved one who has impeccable taste in music. Or in the human spirit. Or in breathtaking human sunsets that straddle who we are and who we hope to be.
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TRACK LISTING  
CD
  1. One Of These Days – Buddy Miller
  2. Will The Circle Be Unbroken- Mavis Staples
  3. Wheels – Chris Hillman & Herb Pedersen
  4. Orphan Girl – Holly Williams & Chris Coleman
  5. Sin City – Steve Earle
  6. Hickory Wind – Lucinda Williams
  7. You’re Still On My Mind – Rodney Crowell
  8. Born To Run – Lee Ann Womack
  9. When We’re Gone, Long Gone – John Starling & Emmylou Harris
  10. Blackhawk – Daniel Lanois & Emmylou Harris
  11. All The Roadrunning – Mary Chapin Carpenter, Vince Gill
  12. The Pearl – Conor Oberst, Shawn Colvin, Patty Griffin
  13. When I Stop Dreaming – Martina McBride
  14. Prayer In Open D – Patty Griffin
  15. Together Again – Vince Gill
  16. Two More Bottles of Wine – Sheryl Crow & Vince Gill
  17. Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again) – Kris Kristofferson
  18. Till I Gain Control Again – Alison Krauss
  19. Boulder To Birmingham – Emmylou Harris (with Full Ensemble)
DVD/Blu-ray
  1. One Of These Days – Buddy Miller
  2. Will The Circle Be Unbroken – Mavis Staples
  3. Red Dirt Girl – Shawn Colvin
  4. Michelangelo – The Milk Carton Kids
  5. Wheels – Chris Hillman & Herb Pedersen
  6. Orphan Girl – Holly Williams & Chris Coleman
  7. Bluebird Wine – Trampled By Turtles
  8. Hickory Wind – Lucinda Williams
  9. You’re Still On My Mind – Rodney Crowell
  10. Born To Run – Lee Ann Womack
  11. When We’re Gone, Long Gone – John Starling & Emmylou Harris
  12. Blackhawk – Daniel Lanois & Emmylou Harris
  13. Wrecking Ball- Iron & Wine, Daniel Lanois
  14. Leaving Louisiana In The Broad Daylight – Shovels & Rope
  15. All The Roadrunning – Mary Chapin Carpenter & Vince Gill
  16. The Pearl – Conor Oberst, Shawn Colvin & Patty Griffin
  17. When I Stop Dreaming – Martina McBride
  18. Prayer In Open D – Patty Griffin
  19. Pancho And Lefty – Steve Earle, Lee Ann Womack & Herb Pedersen
  20. Together Again – Vince Gill
  21. Two More Bottles of Wine – Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill
  22. Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again) – Kris Kristofferson
  23. Till I Gain Control Again – Alison Krauss
  24. Cash On The Barrelhead – Alison Krauss
  25.  Boulder To Birmingham – Emmylou Harris (with Full Ensemble)
DVD/Blu-ray Bonus Performances
  • Sin City – Steve Earle
  • Darkest Hour Is Just Before Dawn – Sara Watkins

Essential Downloads: “Orphan Girl” (Holly Williams & Chris Coleman); “When We’re Gone, Long Gone” (John Starling & Emmylou Harris); “Prayer In Open D” (Patty Griffin); “Till I Gain Control Again)” Alison Krauss.

To preview or purchase this album on iTunes, click here.

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