Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Emmylou Harris's "Hard Bargain" Out Now—"Exquisite" (USA Today); Harris Discusses the Album in New VideoToday marks the release of Emmylou Harris's new album, Hard Bargain, comprising 13 tracks, featuring 11 original songs by Harris, all "suffused with kindly intimacy," says the New York Times. The Washington Post says: "It’s lovely and understated and will only further Harris’s reputation as a paragon of gentle dignity and forbearance. She can’t seem to help it." Harris performs songs from the album in a sold-out show at Bowery Ballroom tonight and appears on the Late Show with David Letterman tomorrow night.
USA Today gives Hard Bargain four stars. "There are times when it's easy to take the unmannered beauty and grace of Emmylou Harris' singing and songwriting for granted," says USA Today's Elysa Gardner. "Then there's the first time you hear 'Nobody' from her exquisite new album. Over a rhythm that pulses as gently and steadily as a healthy heartbeat, Harris traces a once-carefree girl's journey through a lonely, searching young adulthood to wisdom and self-acceptance with a poignancy that makes your throat burn. Hard Bargain is full of such moments."
Gardner goes on to say of Harris: "Her unmistakable soprano, at once grainy and ethereal, still wraps itself around a lyric with an angel's delicate warmth. 'You fell from the heavens/Right into this sad place,' she sings on 'Goodnight Old World'; and Harris' enduring purity and dignity provide a similar balm for many a weary music fan."
Read the complete review at usatoday.com.
In a new video posted today to the Emmylou Harris YouTube channel, Harris talks about her songwriting and about working with producer Jay Joyce on the new record. "I would say that for the most part, my songs are autobiographical," Harris says, "in the sense that it has to come from a real experience, an emotional experience or an actual experience that I've gone through." You can watch the video below, along with the video for "Six White Cadillacs," from the CD/DVD edition of Hard Bargain, which premiered yesterday on Garden & Gun.
See what Harris has to say about the making of Hard Bargain below and at nonesuch.com/media:
Watch the video for "Six White Cadillacs" below and at nonesuch.com/media:
Paste magazine says Harris continues to create "some of the best country-influenced music being recorded today."
Reviewer Douglas Heselgrave says "As ever, the spotlight is on Harris’ still-transcendent voice. The years haven’t diminished the purity of her vocals, and the few rough edges that can be heard from time to time only add to the appeal as her voice covers these songs like a worn-in favorite pair of old jeans."
He goes on to say: "Emmylou Harris has had one of the most consistent careers in music and could certainly be forgiven if she decided to slow down and rest on her laurels. But, this absolutely isn’t the case with Hard Bargain."
Read the review at pastemagazine.com.
Harris spoke with the Huffington Post's Jesse Kornbluth, editor of HeadButler.com. Kornbluth writes: "Over 40 years and 25 records and a dozen Grammys, she's followed her instincts, and, in the process, avoided sudden spikes and tumbles. She has graced hundreds of records as a celestial back-up singer and duet partner. The verdict is generous: There are, a critic has said, no bad Emmylou Harris records—only good ones and better ones. Hard Bargain is one of the better ones." Read more and see what Harris has to say at huffingtonpost.com.
Also at the Huffington Post, Shawn Amos, in his Play>Skip feature, recommends Hard Bargain, writing of Harris: "Her voice and expressiveness transcend any one genre. They are also a reminder of what happens when a singer commits to storytelling instead of sounding like a county star. Harris is lucky that she's both, and her latest album is both spontaneous and studied." Read more at huffingtonpost.com.
The Dallas Morning News gives the album an A-. Reviewer Mario Tarradell says: "Emmylou Harris defines rustic elegance. Her 64-year-old voice, an arid yet emotive instrument, remains an Americana music treasure. Hard Bargain, crisply produced by Nashville’s Jay Joyce, is beautiful at every acoustically arresting turn."
The Seattle Times calls Hard Bargain "an easy winner" of an album. The paper's arts writer Paul de Barros says: "Emmylou Harris, of the winsome voice and bittersweet twang, has never been at a loss to find great songs written by others, but this time she's composed a few herself that will probably make other singers' A-lists." Read the review at seattletimes.nwsource.com.
Country Standard Time's Michael Berick writes: "If there is a one guarantee in the music world, it is that an Emmylou Harris will be filled with gorgeous singing. Since gracing Gram Parsons' solo albums in the early '70s, Harris' vocals have been among the most heavenly in contemporary music. Her latest effort, Hard Bargain, is no exception. The disc soars on Harris' signature vocals, an exquisite intertwining of the earthy and ethereal."
Berick's review concludes: "Matching her always-beautiful singing with a set of personal, emotionally-moving songs, Hard Bargain marks another triumphant recording in a career filled with memorable work."
Read the complete review at countrystandardtime.com.
To pick up a copy of Hard Bargain, head to the Nonesuch Store, where orders include high-quality, 320 kbps MP3s of the complete album at checkout.