“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:
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:
Emmylou Harris (born April 2, 1947) is an American singer-songwriter and musician. She has released many chart-topping albums and singles over the course of her career, and has won 12 Grammys and numerous other awards.
Her work and recordings include work as a solo artist, bandleader, an interpreter of other composers’ works and as a singer-songwriter, and a backing vocalist and duet partner. She has worked with numerous leading artists including Gram Parsons, John Denver, Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, Roy Orbison, The Band, Mark Knopfler, Delbert McClinton, Guy Clark, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Bright Eyes, Rodney Crowell, John Prine, Neil Young, and Steve Earle.
“In the words of Willie Nelson, ‘The life I love is making music with my friends,’ and there’s no better friend for me to make music with than Rodney. I can’t wait to get out there on the road with him and play the songs from this new record.”
– Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell – The Travelling kind:
Two years after releasing 2013’s Old Yellow Moon, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell have collaborated again with The Traveling Kind, another album built around their easy but heartfelt creative interplay as both vocalists and songwriters. It’s even better than Old Yellow Moon. I saw them in Oslo last summer, just wonderful, and the songs are great live.