1995, Music

Wrecking Ball (1995) by Emmylou Harris

Sometime in the ’00s we became inundated with new releases from established roots and country stars with an alternative take on their music and their legacy, most famously helmed by producers like Rick Rubin and T Bone Burnett. I think this might have been first. (I honestly do not know if it was or not.)

To my knowledge Emmylou Harris has always been one of the most traditional country singers of her era. Now, I haven’t heard most of her catalogue, but what I’ve heard is traditional compared to what Nashville has been up to. Even the more “modern” production has usually been really restrained compared to the shit that so much of Nashville has adopted.

So, as much as this record wouldn’t be regarded as much of a risk or stretch for most artists, I see how it’s a stretch for her. I mean, it’s radical, relatively speaking. It sounds pretty much like nothing she’s ever done. And I really have to respect that. Also, the song choices are quite strong.

The best record I’ve heard of hers since the ’70s.

8/10

  1. “Where Will I Be?” (Daniel Lanois )4:15
  2. “Goodbye” (Steve Earle) 4:53
  3. “All My Tears” (Julie Miller) 3:42
  4. “Wrecking Ball” (Neil Young) 4:49
  5. “Goin’ Back to Harlan” (Anna McGarrigle) 4:51
  6. “Deeper Well” (David Olney, Lanois, Emmylou Harris) 4:19
  7. “Every Grain of Sand” (Bob Dylan) 3:56
  8. “Sweet Old World” (Lucinda Williams) 5:06
  9. “May This Be Love” ( Jimi Hendrix) 4:45
  10. “Orphan Girl” (Gillian Welch) 3:15
  11. “Blackhawk” (Daniel Lanois) 4:28
  12. “Waltz Across Texas Tonight” (Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris) 4:46
  • Emmylou Harris – vocals, acoustic guitar on 3 5 7 10 11 12, harmony vocals on 10
  • Daniel Lanois – mandolin on 1 2 3 5 8 10 11 12, electric guitar on 1 2 3 4 6 8 9 11 12, acoustic guitar on 2 7 11, bass on 1 3, dulcimer on 10, duet vocals on 1 9, chant vocals on 3, percussion on 4, bass pedals on 8
  • Malcolm Burn – piano on 2 4 8 11 12, tambourine on 4 10 11, vibes on 4, organ on 5 7, synthesizer on 5, keyboards on 6, slide guitar on 8 12, bass on 11, drums on 11, harmony vocals on 11
  • Larry Mullen, Jr. – drums on 2 4 6 7 8 9 12, cymbal on 4, hand drum on 10
  • Tony Hall – percussion, bass on 2 4 6 7 12, stick drum on 10
  • Daryl Johnson – high harmony vocals on 1, tom tom on 1, drum kit bass pedals on 5, backing vocals on 5, harmonic bass on 6, harmony vocals on 10

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