12 Songs, 42 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Forget the shag-carpet ambience, ignore the sometimes dated country-lite arrangements, and just listen to the woman sing: Quarter Moon in a Ten-Cent Town is the sound of a great musical talent coming into her own. From beginning to end, Emmylou Harris’s fourth album is a consistently satisfying, often transcendent example of all the things she’s still doing right, nearly 30 years later — impeccable song selection, a heavenly soprano whose wobble just plays up its poignance, and the most important of all, faith. Harris believes in every song she puts across here, and that conviction shows. Even an old-school weeper like Dolly Parton’s “To Daddy” sounds in Emmylou’s hands like the the one story she has to tell before she goes, and when she sings about killing the ghost of a no-good man (in the lovely, lilting “Easy From Now On”), wronged women everywhere turn that AM radio as loud as it will go. Quarter Moon came at the tail end of Rodney Crowell’s involvement with her Hot Band, but she still covers two of his songs, the Cajun-flavored classic “Leaving Louisiana” and “I Ain’t Livin’ Long Like This,” in which that angelic voice takes on a little roadhouse dust and comes out sounding all the better for it. Other highlights: harmonizing with Willie Nelson on “One Paper Kid” and tearing up the joint on Delbert McClinton’s rollicking “Two More Bottles of Wine.” Far more than just a way station on route to the traditional sounds of her later career, Quarter Moon is a masterwork in its own right.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Forget the shag-carpet ambience, ignore the sometimes dated country-lite arrangements, and just listen to the woman sing: Quarter Moon in a Ten-Cent Town is the sound of a great musical talent coming into her own. From beginning to end, Emmylou Harris’s fourth album is a consistently satisfying, often transcendent example of all the things she’s still doing right, nearly 30 years later — impeccable song selection, a heavenly soprano whose wobble just plays up its poignance, and the most important of all, faith. Harris believes in every song she puts across here, and that conviction shows. Even an old-school weeper like Dolly Parton’s “To Daddy” sounds in Emmylou’s hands like the the one story she has to tell before she goes, and when she sings about killing the ghost of a no-good man (in the lovely, lilting “Easy From Now On”), wronged women everywhere turn that AM radio as loud as it will go. Quarter Moon came at the tail end of Rodney Crowell’s involvement with her Hot Band, but she still covers two of his songs, the Cajun-flavored classic “Leaving Louisiana” and “I Ain’t Livin’ Long Like This,” in which that angelic voice takes on a little roadhouse dust and comes out sounding all the better for it. Other highlights: harmonizing with Willie Nelson on “One Paper Kid” and tearing up the joint on Delbert McClinton’s rollicking “Two More Bottles of Wine.” Far more than just a way station on route to the traditional sounds of her later career, Quarter Moon is a masterwork in its own right.

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