Emmylou Harris

Singin' With Emmylou, Vol. 2

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The second volume of Singin' With Emmylou, a collection of duets and backing vocal appearances by Emmylou Harris, is no barrel scraper. If anything it is even more eclectic than the first. If Volume 1 offered names and historical country music and pop figures, Volume 2 offers the other side of Harris' contributions -- some to lesser-known artists, some to artists well outside of the country music confines, and some appearances with grand legends. The set opens with a duet of Harris with Johnny Cash. The song "As Long as I Live" is a Roy Acuff classic. Coming from Cash's 1988 collaborative album "Water From the Well," it is easily the strongest track on it. Along the way there are some soundtrack appearances such as her duet with Patty Griffin on Beth Nielsen Chapman's "Way Beyond the Blue," from the film Where the Heart Is. It is one of Harris' most stirring performances in the last 20 years having a foil that is every bit her vocal equal. There are some killer performances of Harris singing with Bill Monroe, the late Nicolette Larson, Lucinda Williams, Tammy Wynette, and Tanya Tucker as well. On the work of lesser known but wildly talented artists such as Barry and Holly Tashian, the Kendalls, Matraca Berg, German country legend Tom Astor, guitarist Albert Lee, Jim & Jesse, Bobbie Cryner, Mike Auldridge, the Woodys, and Billy Joe Shaver, Harris is a forcer who pushes at the margins in the heart of a song, coaxing phenomenal performances -- in most cases from those she is supporting. In Lee's case, nothing could help the song; it sucks eggs and he can't sing to save his life. The duet with Mary Black on Eleanor McEvoy's "Only a Woman's Heart" from 1995 is burning in its honesty. This is a soul-on-fire collaboration despite the balladic nature of the song. Its understatement adds so much weight to the melody and tempo that these women seem to carry the weight of the world inside them. Coming as it does in the middle of the album, it's almost difficult to go on, but there are more jewels, in the mix, but only one of them shines this blue, black, and brilliant, and that's the aforementioned "Beyond the Blue," which seems to be the answer to this one. Look for more volumes in this excellent series because there's plenty more where this came from.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
feat: Johnny Cash
2 2:35
feat: The Kendalls
feat: The Woodys
5 3:24
6 3:29
7 3:25
8 3:04
feat: Mary Black
feat: Matraca Berg
11 3:33
12 4:34
13 3:03
14 3:06
feat: Bill Monroe
feat: Albert Lee
17 2:57
18 3:31
feat: Tanya Tucker
20 4:22
blue highlight denotes track pick