Various Artists

Concerts for a Landmine Free World

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Concerts for a Landmine Free World Review

by Richie Unterberger

These live performances are drawn from concert series in 1999 and 2000 that benefited the Campaign for a Landmine Free World organization. There are a bunch of big folk-country-rock-singer/songwriter crossover names here, including Emmylou Harris, John Prine, Bruce Cockburn, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Nanci Griffith, Gillian Welch, Kris Kristofferson, Steve Earle, Terry Allen, and Guy Clark. The vibe is low-key and unplugged, and it's rather like listening to a record compiled from various editions of National Public Radio's "Mountain Stage" series (which is not a criticism). Sometimes the songs are topical, but never more so than in Cockburn's "Mines of Mozambique," which of course relates directly to the inspiration for these concerts. Sometimes, however, the social consciousness is not directly related to the event at hand (Griffith's "It's a Hard Life"), and sometimes indeed this has nothing to do with topical songwriting, as on Prine's comic "Big Ol' Goofy World" (nice to have some lighthearted moments at a benefit album for such a somber issue). You wouldn't say that this represents the best work of any of these artists, but for those who are into these kind of singer/songwriters, it's a pretty solid set of tracks not available on their regular releases.

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