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Hard Bargain

Emmylou Harris

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iTunes Review

At 64, Emmylou Harris is still in fine voice and Hard Bargain features 11 songs written or co-written by Harris that are among her finest. Two covers — Ron Sexsmith’s “Hard Bargain” and producer Jay Joyce’s “Cross Yourself” — fit the emotive feel of the album. But the true brilliance here is that it was recorded as a trio: Emmylou, producer Joyce and drummer, multi-instrumentalist Giles Reaves. Yet the album does not sound like a rough and raw trio, but rather a fully accomplished band many members deep, bringing out focused performances with an extra kick. Her tribute to Gram Parsons, “The Road,” clicks with the energy of a live band. “Home Sweet Home” pushes her harmonies frontward with sweet reverb as the song speaks of homelessness. “My Name Is Emmett Till” recalls the murder that sparked the Civil Rights movement. It’s so spiritually rich one can hear the effect of “They say the horror of that night is haunting heaven still.” Hard Bargain is one of Emmylou’s best. If she’s left purebred country music, she’s created her own spiritually true music to take its place. The Deluxe Edition features “To Ohio,” a track recorded with the Low Anthem.

Customer Reviews

From Emmy to Gram

I've only heard the song the Road so far, but to hear Emmylou Harris sing to her mentor Gram Parson is a bittersweet treasure. Songwriting at its best, and Emmylou's voice is always a treat. If only Gram had lived, another life lost to drugs. At least we have his partner singing her heart out, for that we are very lucky.

OK

The production threatens to drown her fine voice. She has always been better as an interpreter
than as song writer. Still, it's always good to listen to Emmy Lou. First class all the way.

Hard Bargain

Many of the lyrics were get lost in the force of the production. Now that Emmylou's voice has matured, producers need to back down the back-up. It takes some work with the graphic EQ to bring her out. Still a worthwhile listen, though.

Biography

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...
Full Bio

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