emmylou harris

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The Last Town Chorus: Wire Waltz (Shock)

The Last Town Chorus: Wire Waltz (Shock)

Why don't I step back here and let others tell you about the beguiling voice of Megan Hickey who is front and centre of this alt.country outfit, and whose lap steel playing is stellar? Here is a selection of quotes: "She sings like an angel and plays lap steel like the Devil" -- Village Voice "Hickey spellbinds listeners...

MIRACLE MILE PROFILED: Beauty in search of an audience

MIRACLE MILE PROFILED: Beauty in search of an audience

Some years ago when I was at the Herald yet another CD for review arrived in the post and took its place on the huge pile of "discs to be listened to". I have no idea why out of the stack of worthies I picked up the album by Miracle Mile laterand played it one night at home when no one was around: but I am glad I did because I was...

Over The Rhine: The Trumpet Child (RedEye/Southbound)

Over The Rhine: The Trumpet Child (RedEye/Southbound)

When this Cincinnati-based duo came to New Zealand 18 months ago I did an interview with them and noted they were receiving media interest more befitting Really Big Stars: lining up for a chat were the Herald; Kim Hill; the Listener and student radio; and there was an intimate gig before well-placed radio and retail people. Not that they...

Linda Thompson; Versatile Heart (Decca) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Linda Thompson; Versatile Heart (Decca) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Few would make the mistake of coming to Anglo-folk legend Thompson for their jollies -- but even the well-prepared might gulp at the melacholy mood in which this is suffused. While the country twangin' foot-tapper Do Your Best For Rock'n Roll includes the promising line "take me to a bar" it ends with "and leave me there to...

Shelby Lynne: Just a Little Lovin' (Lost Highway)

Shelby Lynne: Just a Little Lovin' (Lost Highway)

Quite why anyone would get excited over the over-emoting 19-year old Adele's debut album when Shelby Lynne conveys more depth of ache in one line is beyond me. This exceptional album sees country singer Lynne go down a very difficult route: taking on songs made famous by the late Dusty Springfield (and offering one stunning original). And...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson: Rattlin' Bones (Liberation)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson: Rattlin' Bones (Liberation)

Chambers -- daughter of the very great singer-songwriter Bill -- is one of Australia's finest alt.country/roots artists and here she teams up with her husband Nicholson for their first album together. Oddly enough although they play together in their casual side-project The Lost Dogs covers band they hadn't previously written together -- yet...

KASEY CHAMBERS AND SHANE NICHOLSON INTERVIEWED 2008: The family that plays together . . .

KASEY CHAMBERS AND SHANE NICHOLSON INTERVIEWED 2008: The family that plays together . . .

Backstage after a performance for invited guests and a camera crew in a studio room at the Sydney Opera House, Kasey Chambers and her husband Shane Nicholson are greeting fans and well-wishers. Just minutes before they had unplugged after an intimate and affecting set -- with their small band which includes Kasey’s father Bill on guitar --...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Emmylou Harris: All I Intended To Be (Warners)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Emmylou Harris: All I Intended To Be (Warners)

The crystalline quality of Emmylou Harris' voice is often so admired that people can look past that she is also a great interpreter of a lyric and has effortlessly brought traditional or familiar songs together with her originals.This time out she calls on kindred spirits (the McGarrigle sisters, Mike Auldridge, Buddy Miller) with her band which...

Krista Polvere: Here Be Dragons (Inertia)

Krista Polvere: Here Be Dragons (Inertia)

This Adelaide singer-songwriter may sound a little weak in a couple of places here but that hasn't stopped some high-power friends lining up in a New York studio to help out on these delicate and somewhat stately alt.country songs: Ryan Adams (who co-wrote Let's Go), cellist Jane Scarpantoni, Adam Snyder and Grasshopper from Mercury Rev, and...

Little Feat and Friends: Join the Band (429/Shock)

Little Feat and Friends: Join the Band (429/Shock)

That Little Feat survived the death of founder Lowell George back in 79 wasn't so surprising. Much as George was the charismatic, stoned frontman there was no denying that this was a band of stunning musicians. They took time out after George's death -- a decade almost -- but their re-formation was somehow inevitable. Naturally their critics...

OVER THE RHINE INTERVIEWED (2006): Coming out quietly

OVER THE RHINE INTERVIEWED (2006): Coming out quietly

Karin Berquist and Linford Detweiler get the treatment usually reserved for big stars. A year ago few people here were aware of Over the Rhine, the Cincinnati band formed around the song-writing core of Karin Berquist and Linford Detweiler, whose seductive blend of alt.country and American folk had quietly been captivating an American...

Rodney Crowell: Sex and Gasoline (Shock)

Rodney Crowell: Sex and Gasoline (Shock)

Crowell's 2001 album The Houston Kid -- hard-won narratives in passingly autobiographical songs - hinted that he was getting a late-career second wind after some pretty indifferent albums in the late 80s/90s. This album confirms that, after The Outside of 2005, his songwriting and story-telling skills certainly haven't deserted him and in...

Lucinda Williams: Live from Austin, Tx 1989 (DVD, New West)

Lucinda Williams: Live from Austin, Tx 1989 (DVD, New West)

With the great Lucinda Williams due to return for long overdue concerts, it seems only right to draw attention to this DVD of her first appearance on the Austin City Limits telelvison show in 1989. It was almost 20 years ago and at the time -- although she'd released her first album a decade previous -- she was riding on the crest of her...

Tami Neilson: The Kitchen Table Sessions Vol 1 (Ode)

Tami Neilson: The Kitchen Table Sessions Vol 1 (Ode)

It's a curious thing that in New Zealand where country and alt.country of various persuasions has become increasingly popular that an album like this slips past most people. It slipped past me until very recently, although I'm pleased to note her previous one Red Dirt Angel, didn't go around the judges at the 2009 music awards who picked it as...

Tift Merritt: See You on The Moon (Concord)

Tift Merritt: See You on The Moon (Concord)

To be honest, despite very much liking most of Merritt's '02 album Bramble Rose -- and concluding the review, "a name to remember, Tift" -- I lost touch with her augmented alt.country which came with a little sensuality and suggestions of Petty-like country-rock. That said, of course I remembered the name so this came qucikly to...

Sarah McLachlan: Laws of Illusion (Sony)

Sarah McLachlan: Laws of Illusion (Sony)

This prime mover behind the Lilith Fair all-women-artists tours of over a decade ago (and resurrected this year) hasn't released a new album in seven years, so in some quarters expectation must be very high. A gifted, emotionally-driven singer-songwriter, McLachlan here comes out with all guns blasting on the rocking opener Awakenings which...

John Prine: In Person and On Stage (Oh Boy)

John Prine: In Person and On Stage (Oh Boy)

The great John Prine falls somewhere between folk and country, but also has a rare downbeat sense of humour and his wry observations have always elevated his albums. Here on a collection of live tracks -- essentially a greatest hits by a man who has rarely had a hit -- he has some grin-inducing anecdotes at times which are kinda...

Tami Neilson: The Kitchen Table Session Volume II (Ode)

Tami Neilson: The Kitchen Table Session Volume II (Ode)

When reviewing her previous album The Kitchen Table Sessions Vol 1, I noted the promise of the title and looked forward to Auckland-based Neilson getting back around the table in her brother's house in Canada to deliver a follow-up. This time she took with her singer-songwriter Lauren Thomson who plays guitar, sings back-up in places here...

Buddy Miller: The Majestic Silver Strings (New West)

Buddy Miller: The Majestic Silver Strings (New West)

Although a supergroup of guitarists is at the core here -- the great Miller (of Emmylou Harris' band and  Robert Plant's Band of Joy among others) brings on board Marc Ribot, Bill Frisell and Greg Leisz whose names are on albums by Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Willie Nelson, many alt and straight country acts as well as ECM jazz albums -- the...

Over the Rhine: The Long Surrender (GDS)

Over the Rhine: The Long Surrender (GDS)

After a series of fine albums, Ohio's Over the Rhine here -- with sympathetic producer Joe Henry – deliver their most sophisticated album to date, one with an ear on their European-cabaret sounding alt.country (with exceptional players such as steel guitarist Greg Leisz) in songs of uncertainty and reassurance, and torch ballads of...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Emmylou Harris, The Original Album Series (Rhino)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Emmylou Harris, The Original Album Series (Rhino)

With a new Emmylou Harris album about to be released -- does an Emmylou album "drop"? -- it is timely to look briefly at this five CD set of her early solo albums. It skips past her work with Gram Parsons of course, and also her debut solo album Gliding Bird of '70 on the small Jubilee label but picks up her five Reprise albums...

Emmylou Harris: Hard Bargain (Nonesuch)

Emmylou Harris: Hard Bargain (Nonesuch)

Emmylou Harris is now 64 but her voice sounds as beautiful as it always was, although it seems a little lower these days, but no less affecting. On this album the woman known for her interpretations of songs by others writes three and co-pens eight others with Will Jennings, which brings a more autobiographical quality to some. The...

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