I’m torn. I loved this record. And I didn’t.
Let me explain.
I bought this in Taranna with Mike on our most recent annual excursion. It came highly recommended from many folks. Hell, even Robert Plant (I read it somewhere) praised the damn thing, and later made his own version with Alison Krauss (Raising Sand).
Made in 1995, I get that with this record Emmylou was probably wanting to distance herself from what was happening in country (pop?) at the time, and get her own, closer to roots sound. That’s cool.
And it really is a stunning record. Harris’ vocals are arresting, haunting and gorgeous. The songs drift along and pull you in. Tracks like Every Grain Of Sand and Sweet Old World blew me away. This is a really, really good record. It is!
You’re waiting for the ‘But…’ aren’t you. Well, here it is.
But, on some songs, it’s too much damn Lanois. He’s a one-trick pony, and he does that thing he does. So here we have Emmylou, a superlative talent in her own right, singing over some songs that could have been on a U2 or Lanois solo record.
In all fairness, it’s not a bad sound. And maybe, released when it was, it was actually influential on a lot of records released after it and that’s why it seems a bit done. And not all of the songs here are like that, to be sure, but it was enough to make me unable to shake the thought.
So I loved it, because I love Emmylou, and when she shines through it’s a glorious thing. But I also didn’t love it, because too much Lanois. Shame, that, because I wanted to rave about it unreservedly. I’m gonna give it more listens, see if it changes for me.
I still liked it, though, more than I didn’t. And that’s something.