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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Before Miley Wrecked the Title

One of the best albums of past couple decades, Emmylou Harris's Wrecking Ball (produced by Daniel Lanois), has been re-issued with extra CD and video DVD, as I've noted.  Songs by Lucinda, Dylan, Steve Earle, Jimi Hendrix, the McGarrigles, Lanois, Neil Young, Gillian Welch).  Outtakes include Lanois's great "Still Water," which I know from one of his albums, and Richard Thompson's "How Will I Ever Be Simple Again,"  And Leonard Cohen's "The Stranger Song."

BTW, "Wrecking Ball" was title of the Neil Young tune--not very early Miley Cyrus.

From Gillian:
It was a powerful and timely statement from an artist already looking back on a quarter-of-a-century career. It is of inestimable worth when an artist tells the truth. To my ear, this is a truthful record, and as such a timeless one. Nevertheless, it would be an omission not to mention how meaningful Wrecking Ball was in the moment it came out, especially for those of us who were casting about Nashville, trying to figure out the possible relevance and face of folk music at the close of the 20th century. The record’s sound was haunted but present. The songs were frank admissions of love, failure, longing, loss, and faith. There were unflinching recollections of memories, painful and dear, and there was something beautifully unfettered and impolite about the whole thing. It definitely stirred up Nashville, which has repeatedly had to reconcile its longstanding musical traditions with its desires to be current. Harris had confronted the maelstrom head on.
At the time, I was not fully aware of how brave this was.
 Here's the kickoff song and one of the outtakes now on new release (both by Lanois):

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