I sat down with Emmylou Harris last night–at least the vinyl version of her on her All I Intended to Be album released last year (2008) on Nonesuch Records. I had listened to the record several times before and found it an easy listen and her voice was smooth and crystalline as ever–few have a sound anywhere approaching hers.
But I finally sat down with the two substantial 180-gram LPs last night and really listened to the richly layered, beautifully structured work by Harris and a cast of capable musicians and producer who is well-matched to her in Brian Ahern.
The title for this album draws on Billy Joe Shaver's song, "Old Five and Dimers Like Me,"which is on this album. A blend of solid country songwriting favorites and new pices by Emmylou and Kate and Anna McGarrigle, this album is all about the songs.
And that, it turns out, is what had me slowing down to listen deeply, especially cuts like "How She Could Sing the Wildwood Flower." This is an album of love, loss, regret, heartache, loneliness and bursts of wistful joy. In essence, the perfect piece of Emmylou's work. It's at the front of the record rack now wating for more listens, more discoveries and more joy in the details of songs well sung by a beautiful woman whose voice still makes her the sweeheart of the rodeo.