Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Country, Pop, Rock
Most pop musicians in their 50s spend their stage time reflecting on past accomplishments. Emmylou Harris, on the other hand, is still moving forward, seeking new challenges and pushing into new musical territory. Alway... more »
Most pop musicians in their 50s spend their stage time reflecting on past accomplishments. Emmylou Harris, on the other hand, is still moving forward, seeking new challenges and pushing into new musical territory. Always artistically restless, Harris has offered nearly a quarter century of interesting ideas. However, at age 51, she's creating some of the most lasting and moving music of her life. Fronting a band featuring the New Orleans rhythm section of drummer Brady Blade and bassist Darryl Johnson, and with alternative-country hero Buddy Miller on guitar, Harris presents daring music that is both dark in tone yet spiritually open-hearted. In doing so, she's managed to combine the progressive, provocative tension of 1996's Wrecking Ball with the tradition-based music of her earlier work. --Michael McCall
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Christopher P. Dunn | The Aloha State | 12/23/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an astonishing album -- not only does it capture the essence of who Emmylou Harris is (as a singer and songwriter), but it showcases her wonderfully as a live performer. Spyboy is a brilliant title for this live CD. The spyboy is the young lad who leads off the Mardis Gras parade, which is a great metaphor for Harris' career. She has always been at the forefront of defining and redefining the confluence of country, rock, and folk music.Here, she and her band beautifully reinterpret songs that she has made into classics. My Songbird, a Jesse Winchester gem, is delivered in classic Harris style -- aching, plaintive, and with an air of resignation. It doesn't matter that the song is written in the first person and spoken by a man. This is a haunting and painful song about separation that only Harris could deliver so sweetly.This theme of pain, separation, and moving on permeates this recording, and is exemplified by such songs as Daniel Lanois' Where Will I Be, the traditional Green Pastures, and her own composition about Gram Parsons, Boulder to Birmingham. But this is not sappy sentimental country-folk-rock. Instead, it is intelligent music making in the same way that is true of other performers such as Richard and Linda Thompson, Mary Black, or Mary Chapin Carpenter. The aura cast by the musicians is somewhat ethereal, being clearly influenced by Daniel Lanois, long-time producer of U2's recordings, and of Bob Dylan's Oh Mercy. Lanois' influence on Harris is most pronounced in her Wrecking Ball recording, a style that overflows into this live concert. In fact, Harris sings two Lanois compositions, in addition to Deeper Well (a song I have yet to appreciate), which they co-wrote. I have to admit that I'm getting a little tired of the Lanois style (he's also produced a recent Willie Nelson recording), however, there's no denying his success. My other pet peave is that any recording that Lanois produces includes one or two of his songs. He seems great at marketing himself and his production style. Mercifully, a performer like Harris is so transcendental that one doesn't notice such seeming trivialities. Rather, this (or any other Harris recording) is an experience not to be missed."
An amplification of the masterpiece album "Wrecking Ball"
Dan Huth | Canton, OH USA | 12/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the heart-wrending beauty of the opening "My Songbird" to the brave jazz-like spiritual explorations of "The Maker," Spyboy stands as a masterpiece album, a fitting companion to and, indeed, an amplification of "Wrecking Ball." This is amazing music, and I, who have owned (and loved) almost everything Neil Young, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, The Band, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty have recorded, would rank it among the many masterpieces of this group of artists. Sublime music can be found here, from beautiful born-again gospel to pure country to country-rock to out-and-out rock to rock-jazz fusion, all superbly played by the virtuoso band Spyboy, and all graced by Emmylou's heart-breakingly jagged soprano. Emmy can't reach all the high notes now, but the notes she can reach reverberate with a beauty almost beyond our world, and her striving after those now-unreachable highs is its own poignant comment on the aging process and the counteracting wisdom gained thereby. I love Emmylou and her music, and now I have gained a profound respect for the musical abilities of Spyboy: Buddy Miller, Brady Blade and Daryl Johnson."
Emmylou and Spyboy too
Brian D. Rubendall | Oakton, VA | 06/20/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Spyboy" is the name of the funky coutry-rock band that backs Emmylou Harris on this fine live album. The sound has much more in common with her recent Daniel Lanois collaboration "Wrecking Ball" than it does with her country roots. The musicians on the album are very good (especially crack guitarist Buddy Miller) and the surprise is that she allows them some solos and some instrumental jams. In between those tidbits, her voice is as strong as ever. Twenty-five years ago, this album probably would have found airplay on a mainstream rock radio stations next to songs by Jackson Browne and The Eagles. Fortunately, Emmylou is one artist who continues to insist upon challenging her audience."