Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Emmylou Harris, "The Road"

In the tradition of her classic song "Boulder to Birmingham," this new single from Emmylou Harris finds her once again singing about her late mentor Gram Parsons.  But this time, besides expressing grief over his death, she expresses thankfulness for the experiences they shared together, and for the lasting influence he had on her.

Emmylou's voice doesn't have as much power as it did back in her younger days, but her age has had no ill effects on her ability to convey emotion and sincerity in her performances.  It's apparent that this song comes from a very personal place, as it conveys elements of nostalgia and sadness, but ultimately concludes that "On that road, I'm glad I came to know you, my old friend."

Good as the song is, however, I have to say that I'm not big on the slick production.  The guitars seem to get a little too loud on the bridge, during which Emmylou sings in a falsetto, and they get to be a slight distraction.

Still, "The Road" finds Emmylou in remarkably fine form.  Her open and honest authencitiy is extremely refreshing in comparison to the recycled songwriting concepts that mainstream country music constantly cranks out.  Beautifully written, and beautifully performed, "The Road" is both an enjoyable reminisce of days past, and an enticing preview of Emmylou's upcoming studio album.
(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)


The single is available as a free download at http://www.emmylouharris.com/