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June 05, 2007

Listen to Wrecking Ball

New music site Lala.com has reached some sort of licensing deal with Warner Music where it streams music and pays Warner a penny every time a song is played (you can also apparently also buy the music to download straight to your iPod).

What this agreement means is that I can point you to one of my favorite albums of all time, Emmylou Harris' Wrecking Ball, and you can listen to it and bow down to the unspeakable awesomeness that is Emmylou. Start with album opener "Where Will I Be," which is just monumentally great, and just let it play all the way through. If you're not ready to buy it by the time "Waltz Across Texas Tonight" is done, well, I don't want to say I'll respect you less, but, yeah. I probably will.

Seriously: Great album. Listen and enjoy.

Posted by john at June 5, 2007 02:49 PM

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JCK | June 5, 2007 03:27 PM

My only exposure to Emmylou had been her singing backup for Bright Eyes on his 2005 album I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning. She added an incredibly haunting and beautiful quality to the songs she joined him on.

Thanks for the link, John, I'm listening to the first song now and it's... wow.

jay | June 5, 2007 03:40 PM

After nearly 12 years of owning this album (bought after seeing her live in support of the album) and listening to at least some part of it once a month or so, it's amazing that it still has the power to move me. The last part of "Orphan Girl" still gets me every time and her cover of "May This Be Love" still gives me chills.

Old Jarhead | June 5, 2007 03:55 PM

Emmylou was a taste acquired upon first hearing. I still have the original "Trio" album with Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton in heavy rotation on my iPod. The second Trio album was not as good.

For a while in the old days I think that Emmylou and Rita Coolidge were about 75% of my listening

Derryl Murphy | June 5, 2007 04:37 PM

Yeah, "Orphan Girl" is my fave from that one. My heart belongs to Emmylou. Always has, always will.


Martyn Taylor | June 5, 2007 06:31 PM

While my heart belongs irrevocably to Ms Carpenter, Emmylou is just too damn good for us mere mortals. Orphan Girl is like Dylan singing Forever Young. Has me in tears absolutely every time.

Rob Lawrence | June 5, 2007 06:56 PM

Its So True. Wrecking Ball is one of the greatest albums of all albums.

If any person ever found oneself in a musical rut and wanted to branch out, first listen (loudly and with headphones if possible) to this awesome album. Then listen again.

Then go look up ALL of the credited songwriters of the album.
Dylan, Hendrix, Neil are obvious and well-known genius.

But also look into Gillian Welch, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Julie Miller. Whole worlds of excellent singer-songwriters there.

AND Daniel Lanois producing - I think John has mentioned this before in the pages of the whatever, but check out Lanois' strong and excellent influence on albums he produced for Dylan, U2, Peter Gabriel, Willie Nelson and many more.

Thanks John for discussing one my favorites.

One particular highlight is the beautiful vocal duet with Neil Young on Sweet Old World

Rob | June 5, 2007 07:03 PM


Kristine Smith | June 5, 2007 07:24 PM

"Waltz Across Texas Tonight"

Incredible, beautiful song...

John Scalzi | June 5, 2007 08:16 PM

Kristine Smith:

Yup. Also the song playing when my daughter was born, so it has special resonance for me.

JCK | June 5, 2007 09:43 PM

Listening to Orphan Girl, I've realized that her voice is touching me in the same way that Leslie Feist's voice does. It feels like every syllable takes concerted effort to express. Not that they sound anything alike.

If you're not familiar with Feist, check her out on YouTube (I recommend one of her performances of Ron Sexsmith's Secret Heart). Powerful stuff. She's crazy hot and she plays a mean guitar, too.

JCK | June 5, 2007 09:49 PM

The aforementioned performance of Secret Heart:

Seriously, if you like Emmylou, you'll probably like Feist.

Brian | June 5, 2007 10:57 PM

I can point you to one of my favorite albums of all time, Emmylou Harris' Wrecking Ball,

I knew you were a man of rare taste and genius.

Jude | June 5, 2007 11:30 PM

I'm a female, but I hate female voices.

Kristine Smith | June 6, 2007 12:38 AM

Jude wrote:

I'm a female, but I hate female voices.

I'm female, and I hate one or two female voices (Gwen Stefani. Breathy Little Girl Voice makes me want to pick up an ax), and dislike many many, especially DJs and newscasters. Voices so high they sound as though they're emerging from holes in the tops of their heads.

BigHank53 | June 6, 2007 12:40 AM

Have you heard her cover of Daniel Lanois' The Maker? It's on one of her live albums.

Frank | June 6, 2007 07:52 AM

Awesome album. One of my all time favorite songs by Emmylou is on it "Deeper Well" a song which she co-wrote.

I was first turned on to her when she sang backup for Dylan on Desire where she sang on one of my favorite Dylan songs "One More Cup of Coffee" with it's haunting minor key progression and stunning violin-work by Scarlet Rivera

Your sister sees the future Like your mama and yourself. You've never learned to read or write There's no books upon your shelf. And your pleasure knows no limits Your voice is like a meadowlark But your heart is like an ocean Mysterious and dark.

Great stuff.

John Scalzi | June 6, 2007 08:27 AM


Re: "The Maker" -- Yup, I have it. It's off Spyboy, which is a generally excellent live album. She and Willie Nelson also sing it on Nelson's Teatro album.

Josh Jasper | June 6, 2007 03:14 PM

Also, the new Paul McCartney "Memory Almost Full" (which you've heard if you've been in a Starbucks for over 3 minutes) album is on eMusic.

And, hey, Jude, before you give up on women's voices, try S.J. Tucker. Skinnywhitechick rocks!

Anyone who buys music "to download straight to their ipod" is taking a risk. At least with iTunes, you can back the music up. If you loose your ipod with any amount of money worth of these guy's product, pray tell, how are you going to get that music back? I tried to scan the site for a FAQ, and lala.com is down right now. I'm betting they couldn't handle the server load after the MSN writeup.

Jeri | June 8, 2007 03:16 PM

I love Emmylou... her "Stumble into Grace" is on frequent rotation on my iPod.

Have you listened to Joan Osborne since she turned country/soul? "Blue Hour" off her Pretty Little Stranger album is awesome...

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