Western Wall: The Tucson Sessions

Western Wall: The Tucson Sessions

by Linda Ronstadt
     
 

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One of the deepest, richest musical journeys of recent years, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt's WESTERN WALL: THE TUCSON SESSIONS stakes out turf quite distinct from their Trio incarnation with Dolly Parton. Separately and together, the pair delve deeply into the material, coming

Overview

One of the deepest, richest musical journeys of recent years, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt's WESTERN WALL: THE TUCSON SESSIONS stakes out turf quite distinct from their Trio incarnation with Dolly Parton. Separately and together, the pair delve deeply into the material, coming up with performances nothing short of astounding in their delicacy and nuance. This is vocal artistry of the highest caliber. The songs are by the likes of Jackson Browne, Rosanne Cash (her eerie "Western Wall" gives the album its title), Leonard Cohen, and Bruce Springsteen -- and Harris has three songwriter credits here, as well. Each narrative examines lives in the balance and decisions made that will alter personal histories. Newcomer Patty Griffin and the underappreciated veteran David Olney steal the show with, respectively, "Falling Down," a powerful account of a soul reduced to utter chaos, and "1917," an exquisite recounting of a woman's tragic night of love with a doomed soldier. And there's some humor, too, notably on the suggestive "Sweet Spot," co-written by Harris and Luscious Jackson's Jill Cuniff, with Harris and Ronstadt cooing in unison, "Baby, when you take a shower / I'll be your sweet spot." A rich, multifaceted recording by two of American music's lodestones, WESTERN WALL: THE TUCSON SESSIONS is one for the ages. The more you listen, the more you hear.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Kerry Dexter
Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt have always taken chances with their music, and this time they throw down the challenge with songs about journeys -- of the heart and the mind, of the body and the spirit, of times lost and times remembered, of lessons learned and truths sought out. In a thoughtful and passionate version of Rosanne Cash's "Western Wall," they explore the contradictions of faith; on "All I Left Behind," they plumb the mixed feelings of looking back. Passing lead and harmony lines back and forth with the confidence of the old friends they are, they dig into deep subjects: death (Jackson Browne's "For a Dancer"), war (David Olney's "1917"), the changes of love ("He Was Mine," "Sweet Spot"), and hope (Bruce Springsteen's "Across the Border"). At a time when both could easily rest on past laurels, Ronstadt and Harris have challenged themselves musically and lyrically. WESTERN WALL doesn't give up all its treasures on first hearing, but that's all right...you'll be compelled to listen again.
All Music Guide - Theresa E. LaVeck
Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris have frequently collaborated over the course of their long careers. Their voices are made for each other in a yin-yang meeting of Ronstandt's rich velvet alto and Harris' songbird-sweet soprano. The Tucson Sessions takes their collaborations to new heights. A collection of covers and originals tracing various paths of love and loss, the performances seem to have breathed in the desert where they were recorded. Arrangements airy as the space between desert and sky are grounded by gritty guitars, splashed with color from folk instruments and filled with glorious harmonies. Well known singer/songwriters are covered -- Patty Griffin, Andy Prieboy, Rosanne Cash, Leonard Cohen, and Bruce Springsteen. Traditional presentations of Cohen's "Sisters of Mercy" and Springsteen's "Across the Border" take on new dimensions as sung by women. The spare arrangement and delicate harmonies lend a wonderful wistfulness to Cash's "Western Wall." A surprising cover choice with beautiful results is Sinead O'Connor's "This Is to Mother You." The album's best track, "1917," was written by folk singer David Olney. It's impossible to imagine anyone else singing this haunting tale of soldiers and women in WWI. Fragile and breathtaking, Harris' voice is buoyed by the angelic harmonies of Ronstadt and Kate and Anna McGarrigle. Harris also contributes, along with some collaborators, three tracks to the album, notably the spirited "Raise the Dead."

Product Details

Release Date:
08/24/1999
Label:
Asylum Records
UPC:
0075596240826
catalogNumber:
62408

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Linda Ronstadt   Primary Artist,Vocals,Background Vocals
Emmylou Harris   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals,Track Performer
Neil Young   Harmonica,Background Vocals
Andy Fairweather Low   Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals
Ethan Johns   Dulcimer,Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Percussion,Drums,Electric Guitar,Slide Guitar,Mandocello,spanish guitar,Synthesizer Bass,Optigan
Paul Kennerley   Electric Guitar,Background Vocals
Bernie Leadon   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar,Guitarron,Mandocello,6-string bass,Synthesizer Bass,Guitar (12 String Electric)
Greg Leisz   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Pedal Steel Guitar,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals,Mandola,Mandocello,Weissenborn
Anna McGarrigle   Background Vocals
Helen Watson   Background Vocals
Kate McGarrigle   Background Vocals
Michel Pepin   Cymbals,Bass Guitar
Samantha Rowe   Cello
Wix   Accordion

Technical Credits

David Olney   Songwriter
Glyn Johns   Producer,Engineer
George Massenburg   Engineer
John Nowland   Engineer
Michel Pepin   Engineer
Alli   Art Direction
Elizabeth Cutler   Composer

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