Emmylou Harris – Red Dirt Girl
We knew her voice was a gift from the gods. And we knew the few songs she HAD committed to record were fine ones. And we knew Wrecking Ball was one of the best albums of her career.
And then came Red Dirt Girl.
Then came Red Dirt Girl, and the revelation that Emmylou Harris was an extraordinary songwriter.
She wrote or co-wrote 11 of these 12 tracks, and they all easily hold their own against anything coming from the otherwise oddly male-dominated Americana/Roots/Singer-Songwriter/Folk realm.
The title track itself is a story-song tour de force, and for my money, one of the best things she’s ever done, period. Which is saying a great deal, given her storybook career.
I’ve heard it said that the album’s production wields a heavy hand, and from other corners I’ve heard whispers that it’s an imitation of Lanois, without Lanois.
Interesting arguments, sure, but I come down firmly on the side of the album being just wonderful, just as it is.
It’s been one of my favorite albums for over a decade-and-a-half now, and I expect it will remain as such for a long, long, long time to come.