"Red Dirt Girl"
by Dan Aquilante
Throughout her 30-year career, Emmylou Harris has mostly been known as a stylist who was able to streamline songs and distill them to their essence. Here on "Red Dirt Girl" - the singer's second disc of self-penned songs she is stark, haunting and often stunning.
One of the album's best is the slow burner "I Don't Want to Talk About it Now," which she wrote with Luscious Jackson principal Jill Cunniff. Also, listen for the guest singers on Harris' "Tragedy." If they sound familiar, here's a hint: one of them is Patti Scialfa and the other is the big lug she's married to.
The only complaint about the disc is its occasional dip into bleakness, but otherwise it is a personal album with heart and soul. Listen for the song "Bang the Drum Slowly" an homage to her late dad. Harris borrows the song's title from the traditional American folk song "The Streets of Laredo."