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Red Dirt Girl

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Customer Reviews

Country rock the breaks the mold

Emmylou Harris is rightly considered one of the seminal influences for alt-country. But she pushes the boundaries so far and in so many directions that country just seems to narrow a box for her. Listen to this and you won't hear music in the same way again. The first thing you notice about Emmylou's work is the voice, the sense of honesty and the emotional depth. Then as you listen more deeply, you realize that the musical arrangements and the quality of the songs take her music way past the "Somebody done somebody wrong" approach of most of the work out there. And this album, Red Dirt Girl, is probably the most groundbreaking of all her work. The title song reminds you that this music is still dealing with country themes. This music comes from the land. But there is an intensity to the sound and the arrangements that matches the emotional intensity that has been her trademark. And as you start to listen to other of the songs -- Bang the Drum Slowly, Hour of Gold, Tragedy -- you realize that the rock undertones to the music and the world beat elements have a way of raising the songs to a mythic stature. This music is stamped with greatness. All Emmylou's work has power. And I would recommend anyone buy all of her hits albums to get a taste of her work. But Red Dirt Girl redefines country in much the same way the Byrds and Beatles did rock. However in this case the musical coloring and emotion come from a place of more maturity and depth. This is music you can come back to again and again.


The vast majority of songs in the universe do not make me cry. But "Michelangelo"'s lyrics make me weep, every single time. "The Pearl" is also a deep, deep teaching about the great price we pay--and the unfathomable risk we take--as we limp toward enlightenment. Emmylou is a living master. My only misgiving about this album--its muddy mix--seems to have been corrected in remastering. Am I right? No matter. Muddy or not, the two tracks I mentioned above are precious and beautiful no matter what.

Emmylou's best

This red dirt girl in Alabama says, if you only have one Emmylou Harris album in your collection, this is THE ONE to have. There isn't a single bad track but if you want to start slowly, I would recommend I Don't Wanna Talk About It Now, Red Dirt Girl (a song that deserves 10 stars!), Bang the Drum Slowly (I miss you, Dad), J'ai fait tout, and My Antonia.


Born: April 2, 1947 in Birmingham, AL

Genre: Country

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Though other performers sold more records and earned greater fame, few had as profound an impact on contemporary music as Emmylou Harris. Blessed with a crystalline voice, a remarkable gift for phrasing, and a restless creative spirit, she traveled a singular artistic path, proudly carrying the torch of "cosmic American music" passed down by her mentor, Gram Parsons. With the exception of only Neil Young -- not surprisingly an occasional collaborator -- no other mainstream star established a similarly...
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