Category Archives: Emmylou Harris

The Best Dylan Covers: Rodney Crowell with Emmylou Harris – Shelter From The Storm

Emmylou and Rodney in Oslo 2015

Shelter from the Storm” is a song by Bob Dylan, released on his 15th studio album,Blood on the Tracks, in 1975.

Along with “Tangled Up in Blue”, “Shelter from the Storm” was one of two songs fromBlood on the Tracks to be re-released on the 2000 compilation The Essential Bob Dylan. The song also appears on two live albums by Bob Dylan — Hard Rain (from a May 1976 performance) and At Budokan (recorded in February 1978).

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October 16: Emmylou Harris released Brand New Dance in 1990

brand new dance

Brand New Dance was an album which Emmylou Harris released on October 16, 1990. Produced by Richard Bennett and Allan Reynolds, the album mixed a rather eclectic collection of covers, including Bruce Springsteen’s “Tougher Than the Rest”, and Dave Mallett’s “Red, Red Rose”. Though it sold reasonably well, it was Harris’ first studio album in fifteen years to yield no top forty country singles, and marked the beginning of a commercial decline for the singer, which would ultimately lead her to redirect her music away from mainstream country, a few years later.

It was one of my first conscious country music buys, with that I mean that before I had just listened to my fathers record collection when playing country (or radio). This was a big step for me, I had bought country-rock albums and rock albums with country elements, but this was pure country. I still love the album, it has a very special place in my musical upbringing.

…and I think it has one of the best covers of Springsteen’s Tougher than the rest (audio):

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September 26: Emmylou Harris released Wrecking Ball in 1995

wrecking ball

“Wrecking Ball is a leftfield masterpiece, the most wide-ranging, innovative, and daring record in a career built on such notions. Rich in atmosphere and haunting in its dark complexity…The fixed point remains Harris’ voice, which leaps into each and every one of these diverse compositions — culled from the pens of Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Steve Earle, and others — with utter fearlessness, as if this were the album she’d been waiting her entire life to make. Maybe it is.”
– Jason Ankeny (Allmusic)

Wrecking Ball is the eighteenth studio album by Emmylou Harris, released on September 26, 1995 throughElektra Records. Moving away from the traditional acoustic sound for which she had become known, Harris collaborated with rock producer Daniel Lanois and engineer Mark Howard. The album has been noted for atmospheric feel, and featured guest performances by Steve Earle, Larry Mullen, Jr., Lucinda Williams and Neil Young, who wrote the title song.

I saw Emmylou Harris live for the first time this summer, it made me go back and listen to all her albums again, with added interest and new-found love of her music. Not that I had ever lost it, but it felt fresh and deeper after the show in Oslo.

Wrecking Ball is my favourite Harris album, and I rank it among the 30 best albums ever made.

Emmylou Harris talks about Sweet Old World and sings the song with Neil Young:

Continue reading September 26: Emmylou Harris released Wrecking Ball in 1995

September 19: Daniel Lanois’ 8 best album productions – Happy Birthday!

daniel
Daniel Lanois was born September 19, 1951 in Hull, Quebec) he is a Canadian record producer, guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter.

Daniel Lanois has released several albums of his own work. However, he is best known for producing albums for a wide variety of artists, including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, Emmylou Harris and Willie Nelson. Three albums produced or co-produced by Lanois have won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Four other albums received Grammy nominations.

I have picked 8 favourites among his great work, listed in chronological order:

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The Best Dylan Covers: Emmylou Harris – Every Grain of Sand

wrecking ball

The Best Dylan Covers: Emmylou Harris – Every Grain of Sand

Every Grain of Sand” is a song written by Bob Dylan, recorded in May 1981 and originally released the following August on Dylan’s album Shot of Love. It was subsequently included on the compilation Biograph. An early version of the song, recorded in September 1980 and featuring Jennifer Warnes on backing vocal, was released in 1991 on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961-1991. To me it sounds like and feels like a hymn.

Emmylou Harris recorded the song for her album Wrecking Ball in 1995. It is not better than Dylan’s version, but it is one of those rare covers that is up there with the original. The album is fantastic and Harrison requested Lanois services after hearing his work on Dylan’s Oh Mercy as well as Lanois’s own album Acadie.

Every Grain of Sand sung by Emmylou Harris is a masterpiece.

“The arrangement of Dylan’s “Every Grain Of Sand”, which originally closed Dylan’s 1981’s Shot Of Love – and sounded like Dylan was making it up as he went, in a shed – is similarly polished: again, Harris plays against it with a haunted, almost cracking vocal which amplifies the song’s vulnerability (in company with Sheryl Crow, she sang “Every Grain Of Sand” at Johnny Cash’s funeral in 2003). “
– Uncut magazine

Other entries in the series:
The Best Dylan Covers: George Harrison – If not for you
The Best Dylan Covers: Stevie Wonder – Blowin’ in the wind

Continue reading The Best Dylan Covers: Emmylou Harris – Every Grain of Sand