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Emmylou Harris: Hard Bargain
Wrecking Ball usually gets the nod as Emmylou Harris’ “comeback” album. That was more than 15 years ago, says a lot about her performing career, stretching back to her stint as duet vocalist and muse for Gram Parsons. With her band now stripped down to a trio, Harris makes a quieter landing with Hard Bargain. But at this point in her career, she’s entitled to some self-reflection, if not a little self-indulgence. “The Road”—downtempo and elegiac—is pure cosmic American country-rock in the Parsons vein (in fact the song is dedicated to him), while “Lonely Girl” and “Six White Cadillacs” are schlocky and sensuously funky. Quirks aside, Harris is still at her winnowy best when she really folds herself into a song—whether she’s layering seamless harmonies on the Ron Sexsmith penned title track or stressing her Alabama twang on “Big Black Dog.” Another comeback? Wrecking Ball proves that she never left.
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