Boston Globe: Emmylou Harris's New Album Features Songs "Meticulously Written and Chosen" for Her Angelic Voice
Emmylou Harris's new album, All I Intended to Be, hits stores today. After visiting the Today show this morning, Emmylou spends a few more days in New York City to perform on the Late Show with David Letterman Thursday night and, earlier that evening, at the flagship Barnes & Noble store in Union Square, beginning at 7 PM. That event will also include a conversation with host Katherine Lanpher as part of the store's One on One series. For details, visit bn.com.
"Like cool water on a hot day," writes the Boston Globe's Sarah Rodman, "Emmylou Harris's bruised-angel voice remains a welcome balm." In her review of the new album, Rodman writes:
Harris has meticulously written and chosen a group of folk and country songs that support the nuances of that voice perfectly. Her A-list collaborators gloriously rise to the occasion, fleshing out All I Intended to Be with tasteful playing and vocalizing.
Two of those artists supporting Emmylou on the new record are Dolly Parton and Vince Gill, who offer "shiver-inducing back-up to the album's delicate, melancholic peak, 'Gold,' written by Harris," leading Rodman to muse: "If there's a more heavenly choir than Dolly Parton and Vince Gill, it has yet to be discovered." And of Emmylou's own performance of the song's most poignant lyrics, the reviewer dares: "Just try not to tear up as Harris sings."
To read the review, visit boston.com.
Pitchfork spoke with the songstress about her career and her latest effort, with interviewer Joshua Klein introducing their discussion by writing:
Emmylou Harris doesn't really make bad albums, just degrees of good. It's an incredible track record she's kept up for over 30 years, since the death of Gram Parsons dissolved their historic partnership and Harris set out on a solo career, stretching all the way up to her latest, All I Intended to Be.
Read the interview at pitchforkmedia.com.
The Vancouver Sun gives the new album four stars. Reviewer Amy O'Brian concurs that Emmylou's past work has set the bar high, and that her latest doesn't disappoint:
At this point in her illustrious career, Emmylou Harris has created some very high expectations. After 20 albums and nearly 40 years of performing, her fans and critics expect nothing but the best. Her new album, All I Intended to Be, continues in this tradition.
O'Brian goes on to praise Emmylou for excelling in a field all her own, on her own terms:
As a brilliant interpreter of other people's songs, as well as a solid songwriter in her own right, she is a master at creating soulful country ballads. But don't confuse that with the formulaic, twangy canned melancholy that comes pouring out of Nashville. There's nothing canned or false about Harris ... [She] manages to make every song sound like it's coming straight from the heart.
With All I Intended to Be, the reviewer concludes, "Emmylou Harris has lived up to expectations yet again."
Read the full review at canada.com/vancouversun.
Buffalo News gives the album 3.5 out of 4 stars. Jeff Miers says there is "air of quiet grace and dignity surrounding what is one of Harris's finest albums to date" and describes it as "a collection of songs that stare unflinchingly into the face of death, loss, and the inevitability of dissolution." Yet despite the sorrowful subject matter, says Miers,
because Harris writes such convincing, sturdy melodies deeply rooted in the loam of American music, and sings them with such a sublime aura of yearning, they transcend their very subject matter and become testaments to the resilience of the human spirit.
In fact, Miers finds Emmylou to be at her most successful, both as a writer and interpreter of others' songs, on pieces that "work beautifully within the state of wistful regret they conjure." He compares them to Flannery O'Connor stories, with characters who "are broken in one fashion or another." Nevertheless, he concludes, "None of these songs sound whiny, however, so thick is the gothic crushed velvet which both surrounds and cushions them. It's the difference between writing poetry and scribbling in your diary."
To read the review, visit buffalonews.com.
Austin radio station KVUE gives All I Intended to Be an A-, with reviewer Jon M. Gilbertson asserting: "Many musicians have sought refuge in the open skies and rolling grasses of country music, but very few have sounded so comfortable there as Emmylou Harris." As true as that may be, the new album also shows her to be "a truly restless artist," moving her art forward and showing "with her beautifully lived-in voice, she simultaneously possesses and gives away every song." Gilbertson sums up the album in this way: "Good intentions worth their weight in heart and soul." Read the review at kvue.com.