Album Review: Red Dirt Girl by Emmylou Harris

Album Name: Red Dirt Girl
Artist: Emmylou Harris
Year/Label: 2000 / WEA/Atlantic, Nonesuch

Review by Anne Deming

I was first introduced to the music of Emmylou Harris in the fall of 1999. A friend insisted I borrow “Wrecking Ball” (1995) after sifting through my CD collection, which just happens to be flooded with female singer/songwriters.
While I wouldn’t categorize Harris as folk, the overwhelmingly mellow tone of her 1995 release demanded recognition and respect for it’s heart felt melodies and soul rocking rhythms, but it didn’t grab me as a listener.

After reading some rave reviews, Santa went out on a limb this year and wrapped up Emmylou Harris’s 2000 release, “Red Dirt Girl”, as a stocking stuffer. Only one word summarizes Harris’s newest musical masterpiece-incredible. She manages to combine rock, blues, gospel, folk and pop into a symphony of beautiful sounds. Her distinct voice is the delicate string that weaves all 12 songs together and the lyrics flow from one phrase to another like an aria. With just a hint of funk, Harris conveys joy, loss, youth and strength with blinding clarity.

Having a soft spot for the blues, my favorite track is undeniably, “I Don’t Wanna Talk About It Now”; it is surprisingly…mischievous. My sole criticism of “Red Dirt Girl” is, at times, the second hand quality of her rhythm section; switching between a drum machine and an acoustic set produces an inconsistent sound that diminishes the angelic tone of the CD. In her defense, however, this could be the raw sound she attempted and consequently achieved. The splendor of the language and the magic of the song provide the listener with a charming blend of musical talent.

I predict this to be a staple in my CD changer for many moons to come.

Posted on January 3, 2001

Track Listing
Listen to track samples
1.The Pearl
2. Michelangelo
3. I Don’t Wanna Talk About it Now
4. Tragedy
5. Red Dirt Girl
6. My Baby Needs a Shepherd
7. Bang the Drum Slowly
8. J’ail Fait Tout
9. One Big Love
10. Hour of Gold
11. My Antonia (featuring Dave Matthews)
12. Boy From Tupelo

[Emmylou Harris Official Site]


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