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Heartaches & Highways: The Very Best of Emmylou Harris

Heartaches & Highways: The Very Best of Emmylou Harris

5.0 1
by Emmylou Harris
To the extent that a career of nearly 40 years' duration can be summarized in 20 cuts, Heartaches & Highways offers a fine thumbnail of the depth and breadth of Emmylou Harris's artistry. The song sequence starts at the beginning, with her terse duet with Gram Parsons on the Everly Brothers' classic


To the extent that a career of nearly 40 years' duration can be summarized in 20 cuts, Heartaches & Highways offers a fine thumbnail of the depth and breadth of Emmylou Harris's artistry. The song sequence starts at the beginning, with her terse duet with Gram Parsons on the Everly Brothers' classic "Love Hurts" and winds up in the present day with a new song, the atmospheric, near-five-and-a-half-minute odyssey "Connection." Those selections bookend a tune stack that ranges from her eerie, self-penned evocation of love and longing, "Boulder to Birmingham," to heartfelt reworkings of honky-tonk classics -- "Making Believe," Kitty Wells's tear-stained depiction of abject loneliness, and "Together Again," Buck Owens's oddly restrained celebration of lovers reunited -- as well as Harris's stirring interpretations of songs by once-obscure writers such as Townes Van Zandt, whose timeless "Pancho & Lefty" was in Harris's repertoire long before Willie and Merle found it. Also featured is Harris's tender, lilting duet with Roy Orbison on an often-overlooked '70s gem (overlooked, perhaps, because it was released only on the soundtrack of an awful Meat Loaf movie titled Roadie), "That Lovin' You Feelin' Again," which was by far the best Orbison performance on record in an otherwise forgettable decade for the Big O. The Trio -- Emmylou, Dolly Parton, and Linda Ronstadt -- are also present and accounted for with their sweet reading of Phil Spector's "To Know Him Is to Love Him." More recent fare, such as "Orphan Girl" and "Michelangelo," and a certain daring in working with producer Daniel Lanois, reveal an artist still eager for new challenges, on both the literary and musical fronts. This is a good place to find out why Harris always sounds so fresh and inspired.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Emmylou Harris is an artist whose body of work is so consistently strong one could almost pull 20 songs at random from her catalog, string them together, and end up with a pretty listenable disc -- which suggests that the real choices in putting together a "best of Emmylou" album has as much to do with what not to include as what should be on hand. Harris herself helped compile The Very Best of Emmylou Harris: Heartaches & Highways, and while the album certainly doesn't avoid Harris' chart successes, she seems less interested in creating a definitive hits collection than in tracing her journey from the sweet, sad-voiced girl who sang with Gram Parsons to the gifted and thoughtful artist who has lately crafted such mid-career masterpieces as Wrecking Ball and Red Dirt Girl. While the album isn't sequenced in a strictly chronological fashion, the results faithfully trace Harris' subtle but clear stylistic evolution while also offering plenty of evidence that she's perhaps the most naturally gifted song stylist to emerge in country music since the 1970s, able to swing from the honky tonk spirit of "Two More Bottles of Wine" to the rueful losers tale of "Pancho and Lefty" to the gospel passion of "Calling My Children Home" without missing a step. Her superb taste in collaborative musicians, songwriters, and duet partners is also clearly evident throughout, and while the surfaces of later tracks such as "Orphan Girl" and "Michelangelo" may have a different feel, the depth and clarity of Harris' voice and the singular beauty of her creative vision lend this material all the commonality one could need. (And the album's one new track, "The Connection," suggests there's plenty more where all this came from.) If you're looking for an introduction to Emmylou Harris' broad and remarkable body of work, The Very Best of Emmylou Harris: Heartaches & Highways is a strong starting point, and if you simply want to hear 75 minutes of superb music, this fills the bill on that score as well.

Product Details

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Emmylou Harris   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Mike Auldridge   Dobro
Jerry Douglas   Dobro
Tony Rice   Acoustic Guitar
Ricky Skaggs   Acoustic Guitar,Fiddle,Mandolin,Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Sam Bush   Fiddle,Mandolin,Vocal Harmony,Group Member
Rodney Crowell   Guitar,Background Vocals,Hi String
Dolly Parton   Vocals
Ry Cooder   Guitar (Tremolo)
Albert Lee   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Piano,Electric Guitar
David Lindley   Mandolin,Kona Guitar
Roy Orbison   Vocals
Gram Parsons   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Linda Ronstadt   Vocals
James Burton   Electric Guitar
Rick Cunha   Acoustic Guitar
Ben Keith   Pedal Steel Guitar
Mickey Raphael   Harmonica
Julie Miller   Background Vocals
Larry Atamanuik   Percussion,Drums,Vocal Harmony,Group Member
Byron Berline   Mandolin
Dianne Brooks   Background Vocals
Malcolm Burn   Bass,Tambourine
Donivan Cowart   Vocal Harmony
Glen D. Hardin   Piano,Electric Piano
Hank DeVito   Pedal Steel Guitar
Kenny Edwards   Acoustic Bass
Steve Fishell   Percussion,Pedal Steel Guitar,Hawaiian Guitar
Wayne Goodwin   Tenor Saxophone
Emory Gordy   Bass
Ed Greene   Drums
Jim Hoke   Harmonica
Ethan Johns   Drums,Electric Guitar
Darryl Johnson   Percussion,Bass Guitar,Vocals,Djembe,bass pedals,Vocal Harmony
Donald Johnson   Electric Piano
Russ Kunkel   Drums
Daniel Lanois   Dulcimer,Mandolin
Buddy Miller   Electric Guitar,Vocals,12-string Guitar,Mando-Guitar
Larry Mullen   Hand Drums
Bill Payne   Piano
Herb Pedersen   Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Rhythm Guitar,Background Vocals,12-string Guitar,Vocal Harmony
Perkins   Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Dobro,Pedal Steel Guitar,Vocal Harmony,Group Member
John Pierce   Bass
Ray Pohlman   Bass
Frank Reckard   Guitar
Craig Safan   Conductor
Randy Sharp   Acoustic Guitar,Background Vocals
Trevor Veitch   Acoustic Guitar
John Ware   Drums
Roy Huskey   Background Vocals,Double Bass,Upright Bass,Vocal Harmony,Group Member
Gerry McGee   Electric Guitar
Jon Randall Stewart   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Vocal Harmony,Group Member
Barry Tashian   Rhythm Guitar,Vocals
Rev. Brady Blade   Percussion,Drums,Vocals
Jai Winding   Piano
Mike Bowden   Bass
Tony Hall   Bass,Guitar,Drums
Fayssoux Starling McLean   Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Ronnie Tutt   Drums
John Baldwin   Beatbox
Rick Cuhna   Acoustic Guitar

Technical Credits

Delbert McClinton   Composer
Doyle Lawson   Composer
Floyd Cramer   Composer
Emmylou Harris   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Buck Owens   Composer
Conway Twitty   Composer
Roy Orbison   Composer,Duet
Gram Parsons   Producer,Audio Production
Phil Spector   Composer
Brian Ahern   Audio Production
Boudleaux Bryant   Composer
Malcolm Burn   Producer
Glen D. Hardin   String Arrangements
Bill Danoff   Composer
Nick DeCaro   String Arrangements
Henry Diltz   Cover Photo
Dallas Frazier   Composer
Paul Kennerley   Composer
Daniel Lanois   Producer,Audio Production
Ira Louvin   Composer
Charlie Louvin   Composer
George Massenburg   Producer,Audio Production
Buddy Miller   Producer
Gary Peterson   Discographical Annotation
Allen Reynolds   Producer
Jack Routh   Composer
Craig Safan   String Arrangements
Randy Sharp   Composer
Townes Van Zandt   Composer
Robert K. Oermann   Liner Notes
Gillian Welch   Composer
Barry Tashian   Duet
Jimmy Work   Composer
Gina R. Binkley   Art Direction
Steve Woolard   Discographical Annotation
Charles Waller   Composer
Chris Price   Composer
Earl Montgomery   Composer
Robert Yates   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Richard Bennett   Producer

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Heartaches & Highways: The Very Best of Emmylou Harris 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have long loved Emmylou Harris, but have not purchased any of her music since the 1970's album, "Luxury Liner." MY LOSS!! The $13.99 I paid for this album is well worth about 3 cuts of the extradionary 20 included here!! "Boulder to Birmingham," "Two More Bottles of Wine, "Calling My Children Home," "Green Pastures, " and "Here I Am" are enough to make one stop in their tracks, hit the Cd player "Repeat" Button, and keep playing the tracks over and over until the beauty of Emmylou's voice and range of her styles sink into your soul!! I am somewhat a fan of "Alternative Country, " mostly Allison Krauss, but this Cd has made me delve deeper into the genre. All I can finish with is, "RUSH OUT AND BUY THIS CD-- TODAY!!" No lie: it is, by far, the FINEST CD I HAVE PURCHASED IN YEARS!! You'll love it--regardless of your taste in music!!