Wrecking Ball: Deluxe Edition
Nonesuch has released an impressive deluxe edition of the landmark Emmylou Harris album, Wrecking Ball. For those who are new to the set, this is the edition you should buy. But it’s also worth the upgrade for those who already have this set in their collection.
Produced by Daniel Lanois, this album was a stunning departure for Harris, so much so that she personally requested that it not be eligible for the country charts. That’s funny in retrospect, given that alongside legends like Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young, the album was anchored by compositions by up-and-coming songwriters like Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams, and Julie Miller. With further cuts by writers like Anna McGarrigle, Steve Earle, and Rodney Crowell, Wrecking Ball helped set a template for what would become a vibrant Americana scene over the years that followed.
Here are three of my current favorites:
Carlene Carter, “Me and the Wildwood Rose”
from the album Carter Girl
“Me and the Wildwood Rose” was always one of my favorite Carlene Carter tracks. Back when it was released in 1990, it had a wistful nostalgia for the grandmother that she had lost. In 2014, all of the other folks mentioned in the song, including her little sister “the Wildwood Rose”, have also passed on. The new version is so heavy with grief, it is only Carter’s effervescent spirit that keeps it from being too heavy.
Here are the awards, in the order of presentation:
American Roots Song: Edie Brickell & Steve Martin, “Love Has Come For You”
Americana Album: Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Old Yellow Moon
Bluegrass Album: The Del McCoury Band, The Streets of Baltimore
Folk Album: Guy Clark, My Favorite Picture of You
Country Solo Performance: Darius Rucker, “Wagon Wheel”
Country Duo/Group Performance: The Civil Wars, “From This Valley”
Country Song: Shane McAnally, Kacey Musgraves, and Josh Osborne, “Merry Go ‘Round”