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Emmylou Bluebird Guest Appearance by Cimarron at EOL

On January 30th, 1996, a few EOL friends once again converged on Nashville, this time to see some of Emmylou's "musical friends" from Dead Reckoning Records. The concert was part of a month- long benefit concert series at the Bluebird Cafe for Alive Hospice.

The weather was wet, cold and icy, and the Bluebird filled slowly but surely. Even the sound man was delayed. As I was talking to Brian and Meghann Ahern, in walked Emmylou and her mother, Eugenia Harris. There was only time to exchange brief greetings before they were ushered to their table. Later I saw Tammy Rogers standing at the Harris table, talking. There were still people coming in, so I walked over and introduced myself to Tammy. I talked to Tammy, Emmylou and Mrs. Harris for a while. Before going back to my seat at the bar, Tammy signed my "In The Red" CD booklet. I asked Emmylou to sign my "Cowgirl's Prayer" booklet, which I had the rare foresight to bring, in hopes that Emmylou would be there. (She had already signed my copy of "Wrecking Ball" in Knoxville).

Kieran Kane, Tammy Rogers, and Mike Henderson took turns at center stage, featuring some songs from their albums, and some that were performed here for the first time live. Harry Stinson was on drums, and Alison Prestwood played electric bass. All of the group are master musicians and show-persons, obviously loving every moment of the performance. The different songs and artists interspersed throughout gave the show an excitement akin to a roller coaster ride. I hope to get a set list (if there was one) to publish soon. But I will mention my personal favorites from the evening. Just as I was hoping that Kieran would do "Eight More Miles", I recognized the guitar intro. It's a great song, fast and lively, with wonderful fiddle solos by Tammy. I noticed Emmylou watching intently from her seat, keeping time and singing along. It was evident that she is not only a friend to the Dead Reckoners, but also a big fan. Another Kane highlight for me was "Ramblin' Man". Tammy did several from "In The Red", at times playing so vigorously that it seemed she would saw the fiddle in half with the bow. She also performed, quite beautifully, the vocal from the album, "Rest In The Arms Of Angels". Mike Henderson's guitar solos and bluesy vocals added to the excitement felt by the small but very enthusiastic crowd, who often sang along on a chorus. This was especially evident on "Pay Bo Diddley".

Kieran mentioned a special guest in the audience (guess who!) and asked Emmylou to come up and sing a few songs with them. They smoothly ran through "Gone Long Gone", and "Greener Pastures" from Kieran's pre-DR days, and "Dirty Little Town". Then Emmy and Kieran stepped away from the mikes, talking and alternately nodding and shaking their heads. Emmy finally explained that even though she and Kieran wrote "The Light", neither could remember the lyrics. Finally Meghann recited enough to jog their memories. I was sitting across the room laughing along with everyone else, I forgot that I had the lyrics in the "Cowgirl's Prayer" booket in my pocket! Emmylou said that she and Kieran were actually doing a new comedy routine they'd worked up.

After Emmylou's "special guest appearance" the show went on for another 30 minutes, at least. At one point, Tammy mentioned that some of her Internet friends had driven a long way for the show, and how much she appreciated it. I came from Kentucky, and Karen and Ray from Maryland. Kate lives in Nashville, but with the icy weather, it was a challenge just getting from her house to the Bluebird.

After the show, the small cafe provided an intimate setting for meeting and greeting. It wasn't the usual hectic, crowded backstage situation. More like a few friends meeting to talk and laugh about a wonderful evening of music and fun. I count the entire evening among the best of my musical adventures. If you live near a Dead Reckoning venue (or even if you don't), please see them if at all possible. Everyone should have a chance to enjoy at least one Night Of Reckoning.

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Emmylou at the Opry - January 27, 1996 by Gary Vizioli

What a wonderful experience ! I've seen Emmylou many, many times, and Steve only once before (although I'm a huge follower) but this was my first opportunity to see them work together. I ventured to to Nashville last weekend when I heard Emmylou was bringing Steve onto the Opry.

For this very special evening, Emmylou brought together most of the original Nash Ramblers (Sam Bush, Jon Randall, Al Perkins and Roy Husky Jr) to work with her and Steve.

Through a friend, I was able to listen in on the 'rehearsals' and was overwhelmed by the experience. The songs selected for the early show, which was to be televised, were "Sweet Old World" and Steve's new song, "You Know The Rest".

Emmylou and Steve were first interviewed on the Opry Backstage portion, which I didn't see until I returned home and watched the videotape. Steve was vibrant and enthusiastic, as he was the entire evening. When it was time to go on, Johnny Russell brought them out on stage and the crowd responded with a warm and lengthy applause. Emmylou, Steve and the Ramblers kicked it off with "Sweet Old World" from "Wrecking Ball". There's always magic when Emmylou sings, and reunited with the Ramblers enhanced the magic more so. Jon Randall didn't play on this but did provide beautiful high harmony. As Steve took the spotlight on the harmonica lead, with his parents watching so proudly in the wings, I knew the magic was everywhere, but it was just beginning.

When they finished the first song, Emmylou introduced Steve, and another round of warm applause ensued. Emmylou handed Jon Randall her Gibson J-200, Steve said "Here's a new song", and with all the Rambler's backing up, Steve jumped into "You Know The Rest". Emmylou (with tambourine) was right there with the harmony vocals. Another warm round of applause when Steve finished seemed to signal the sometimes reserved Opry fans approval of one of finest songwriters in the business. As they walked off, with the crowd still applauding, there were smiles of approval from the Opry cast and guests gathered on the side of the stage.

Before the early show ended, Steve suddenly darted through the backstage area, grabbed his guitar and was brought back out on stage by Marty Stuart. They mesmerized the crowd singing Steve's "My Old Friend The Blues". I could see the magic wasn't going to end.

If you haven't heard the soundtrack album for the movie "Dead Man Walking", you're missing one of Steve's best works, "Ellis Unit One". In a quiet room, Steve performed this for his parents, son Justin and a few others. I was unprepared for how much emotion this stirred up in me. When you hear this, you'll understand.

Everyone warmed up before the second show with an old standard, " Why I'm Walkin' ", then rehearsed the songs for the show. This was shaping up as THE performance of the evening. This time, they were brought on as "Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle", and it was Steve Earle songs for the all too brief set. Emmylou, Steve and the Ramblers ripped into "Guitar Town", Rambler style, with a hot Steve on acoustic guitar. The masterpiece of the entire evening though was still to come.

I was entranced the first time I heard Steve's "Goodbye" on "Train a Comin'", then Emmylou's cover on "Wrecking Ball" gave me a second stellar version of the song. Now I was about to hear them perform it together ! Steve launched into a solo guitar into, then he and Emmylou hypnotized the entire theater as they traded off on the vocals, evoking vivid images of anguish and emptiness. The Ramblers provided a soft, muted, background to Steve's haunting harmonica lead. When they finished, they received an overwhelming ovation from the new crowd there for the second show. Encores aren't done at the Opry, given the tight scheduling of all the acts to appear, but it certainly would have been fitting.

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  • From the June 2, 1996 Tennessean
    byline Brad Schmitt

    Emmylou sings a beautifully scorching duet

    Local rockers Jason and the Scorchers are putting together a new album, and lead singer Jason Ringenberg talked Emmylou Harris into singing a duet with him. And he's still shaking.
    "I'm just a major fan of Emmy," Jason says. "I've been listening to her since I was knee high."
    The two sang a tune co-written by Jason and Scorchers drummer Perry Baggs called Everything Has A Cost, about a couple who's love for each other turns into a love for materialism.
    "It's completely different from the Scorchers," Jason said. "It's laid back and really pretty and really moving."
    And, Jason said, the two voices blended well at last week's session. "I had chills the whole time. I kept having to pinch myself."

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    From the Dylan Newsgroup

    Re: Dylan and Emmylou Harris - 'Every Grain of Sand'

    From markg@leland.stanford.edu (Mark Gonnerman)
    Organization Stanford University
    Date Mon, 04 Mar 1996 21:21:08 -0600
    Newsgroups rec.music.dylan,rec.music.country.western
    Message-ID

    From: Emmylou Harris Interview
    Source: BBC Radio
    Date: 1976

    BBC: . . . How did you come to play on that album [~Desire~ (1976)]?

    EH: Well, Dylan just wanted a girl to sing and he asked Don (Devito) if he knew of anyone. And Don said, "Well there's this girl Emmylou Harris." I thought he wanted me to sing on a country song, but it turned out he just wanted me to sing period. As it turned out it was very interesting, but you know, it wasn't . . . well you know, I have to have her. The way it came about was quite unusual.

    BBC: I'm sure he wasn't disappointed with the results, though, that was an amazing album.

    EH: Yeah, it was interesting working with him.

    BBC: What was Dylan like to work with? Was he very meticulous in the studio?

    EH: Well, not meticulous, but at the same time very energetic. You know we'd do several feels on one song. You know, bam, bam, bam. Very intense working all the time. But laid back at the same time. It was different, but I had to work pretty hard because I'd never heard the songs before, and they were pretty much all one takes, so it was interesting.

    As quoted in Stewart P. Bicker, ~Friends & Other Strangers~ (1985).

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    What people are saying

    excerpts from the AOL boards

    Nashville

    " i was one of the fortunate few to have attended this wonderful show. the band was fantastic. the fact that there are only a few players on stage with emmy leaves a great space for her vocals. having had the opportunity to both listen to and sing with emmy i can easily say this was one of her best shows. do not miss it."
    kieran kane

    "promptly at 9 pm, she walked onstage with Darryl, Brady, and Buddy following in the shadows... she picked up the guitar and started the night off with a stripped version of Love Hurts... great duet vocal from Buddy. the rest of the night continued with All My Tears, Wrecking Ball, Where Will I Be, and Orphan Girl, among other staples like rocking versions of Two More Bottles of Wine, Born to Run, and Green Pastures. Goodbye brought me to tears, along with Together Again and Sweet Old World. of course there were other songs, but i didn't write them down...
    all in all, it was a rockingroovalicious show that nearly brought the house down. i tell you- Buddy, Darryl, and Emmy singing sounds like nothing i've ever heard... one comment backstage was that Buddy was a cross between Don Rich and Neil Young.
    anyway, it was a killer show (damn good for the first time they had all played together) and anyone who has the chance to see it, GO!!!!! if you don't you will be missing a spiritual experience."

    "... it was a killer show. She's remembered far more details than I, but the emotion is what I remember the most. I walked out in awe and on air. Emmy's upcoming tour is going to be incredible -- last night was a perfect dress rehearsal. She wanted it to be before a friendly home crowd, she said (I paraphrase, but that was the intent). I cried at Sweet Old World, but then I always do. Loved the mix of older material and new -- stuff from Sally Rose and Cimarron, amongst others. And Love Hurts is incredible. Buddy Miller is a gem, as are the other guys. How does she repeatedly find talented musicians who sing beautifully and harmonize so perfectly with her voice? Unbelievable. DO NOT MISS THIS CONCERT TOUR! To hear Emmy in the intimate setting of 12th and Porter must be near heaven and I hope the rest of the tour venues are as intimate. Good luck Emmy & guys -- knock 'em dead."

    Cincinnati

    "Hi all just back from the show at Bogart's in Cincinnati. It was the first show of the road tour. As most of you know it snowed here in Ohio all day. With the bad weather and spring break going (Bogart's is just off University of Cincinnati's campus) it was a healthy crowd at the show. It was a nice mix of Wrecking Ball and Emmylou classic songs. Something for everyone. Emmylou made fun of her outfit that she wore. That's right rubber pants. Emmylou's voice was strong and pure. She also had a edge or an attitude I hadn't seen in awhile. She seemed to really enjoy the evening. You folk that will have the chance to see her on this tour you are lucky. Don't miss it."

    Ann Arbor

    " Great concert, although Emmy talked to the audience less than the other times I've seen her, and I missed that contact. On the other hand, she made a lot of music! She sang for an hour and a half straight, performing 23 songs (if my count is right). This was a very eclectic concert, with songs from all of Emmy's musical eras."

  • ( excerpts from the NJ "Star Ledger" 2/25/97, Today's Spotlight section, article "Star cameos highlight Crow, Wallflowers show" by Ben Horowitz")

    "NEW YORK - Sheryl Crow and the Wallflowers, contemporary favorites carrying the torch for classic rock and roots-rock, got a chance to collaborate with some of their inspirations during their concert Friday night at Roseland.
    Among those making unscheduled appearances were Emmylou Harris, whose country-rock style has been emulated by Crow on some of her songs, and Levon Helm..."
    "Harris and Helm came onstage at the end of the night and performed for about a half-hour during the encores to Crow's headlining set....."
    "(Jakob) Dylan returned at the beginning of Crow's encores for a tasty duet on an oddly satisfying, jaunty countryish version of the Beatles 'Ticket to Ride'.
    But then the silver-haired Harris appeared and took the prize as vocalist of the night. She and Crow sounded like the Everly Sisters when they harmonized on a pretty version of the country song 'Brand New Heartache. Crow's ability to hold her own with Harris showed how far she's come.
    The concert's show stopper was a stunning version of the sad, reflective Lou Reed/Velet Underground tune 'Pale Blue Eyes'. Crow and Dylan each sang lead on a verse but Harris stole the show with her heartbreaking, ethereal, lonely soprano on her verse when she tragically warbled, 'I've thought of you as everything I've had but couldn't keep' ....."

  • 1995 #1 WFUV Top 10 Albums. (WFUV also has a picture of Emmylou and Daniel Lanois in their photo gallery. The direct link is this.)
  • 1995 #1 Rhythms
  • 1995 #1 WXPN-FM Philadelphia PA area
  • 1995 #1 Tallahassee Democrat
  • 1995 #1 WNCW-FM Spindale NC
  • 1995 #1 Country album Pulse Magazine
  • 1995 #2 Music Without Boundaries
  • 1995 #3 Roch On
  • 1995 #3 Folk Roots
  • 1995 #3 The War Against Silence
  • 1995 #8 Lexington Herald Leader Top 10 Albums
  • 1995 #11 Sweden De 100 bästa plattorna 1995
  • 1995 #12 Village Voice
  • 1995 #14 BAM
  • 1995 - in the Top 50 - Q Magazine
  • 1995 -in the Top 3 Country Albums of Entertainment Weekly
  • 1995 #3 country artist Rolling Stone Back to the top

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