Hard Bargain comprises 13 tracks, featuring 11 original songs by Emmylou Harris, all "suffused with kindly intimacy," says the New York Times. Two songs look back at relationships that were central to Harris’ creative life—with Kate McGarrigle and Gram Parsons. The Los Angeles Times raves: "This exquisite collection from the woman who has been the conscience of progressive country music for more than three decades ranks with the best work she's done."
"This exquisite collection from the woman who has been the conscience of progressive country music for more than three decades ranks with the best work she's done." —Los Angeles Times
Emmlyou Harris's Hard Bargain was released April 26, 2011, on Nonesuch Records. The album follows Harris’s acclaimed 2008 release, All I Intended to Be, which received widespread acclaim—Newsweek called it an album that “shows that Harris is still the stalwart songbird at the top of the roost.” Hard Bargain, which comprises 11 new songs by Harris as well as two covers, was produced by Jay Joyce (Cage the Elephant, Patty Griffin). A deluxe edition of the album includes a DVD featuring six performances interspersed with interviews.
“We did the whole record in about a month, which is quite unusual for me. But I had all the material beforehand. I’d written 11 of the 13 songs and I really wanted to include two more by other writers,” Harris explains. “One of the covers is Ron Sexsmith’s ‘Hard Bargain,’ which I absolutely love. The other is by Jay Joyce, called ‘Cross Yourself.’
“We did the whole thing with just three musicians, me being one of them. Jay, the producer, and Giles Reeves play everything between them. It’s not a stripped down record though; there’s only one song that’s a little bare bones. I’m basically a slow ballad-y person, but Jay managed to really move the songs up a bit. But they still have the same emotional feel.”
Two of the album’s songs look back at relationships that were central to Harris’ creative life. She wrote “Darlin’ Kate” for her close friend and collaborator Kate McGarrigle, who died last year of a rare form of cancer, while “The Road” casts its eye further back to the formative time Harris spent with country/rock icon Gram Parsons at the beginning of her career.
A 12-time Grammy winner and Billboard Century Award recipient, Emmylou Harris’s contribution as a singer and songwriter spans 40 years. She has recorded more than 25 albums and has lent her talents to countless fellow artists’ recordings. In recognition of her remarkable career, Harris was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
Customers in Canada can order the Hard Bargain CD/DVD directly from Rhino Records Canada here and the CD here.
Emmylou Harris, vocals (1-13), acoustic guitar (1-13)
Jay Joyce, electric guitars (1-10, 12, 13), ganjo (1, 6, 8, 11), Omnichord (1, 4, 6, 9), bass guitar (2, 3, 5, 10, 12, 13), synth (2, 3, 13), piano (4, 13), hi-string guitars (5, 7, 8), acoustic guitar (13), mandolin (10)
Giles Reaves, drums (1-10, 13), marimbula (1, 6), vibraphone (1, 4, 6, 8-10), djembe (2, 3, 7, 12), picked piano (2), pump organ (3, 10), organ (5, 9), synth (5, 8, 12), Moog bass (7-9), Rhodes (7), piano (11), shaker (12)
Produced by Jay Joyce
Recorded August 2010 at Tragedy/Tragedy, Nashville, TN
Engineer: Jason Hall
Assistant Engineer: Matt Wheeler
DVD Recorded December 4–5, 2010, at Laughing House Studios, Nashville, TN
Director: Jack Spencer
All songs written by Emmylou Harris and published by Poodlebone Music / Almo Music Corp. (ASCAP), except “Goodnight Old World,” “New Orleans,” and “Six White Cadillacs,” written by Emmylou Harris and Will Jennings and published by Poodlebone Music / Almo Music Corp. (ASCAP) and Will Jennings Songs, administered by Irving Music, Inc. (BMI); “Hard Bargain,” written by Ronald Sexsmith and published by Ronboy Rhymes / Sony/ATV Tunes LLC (ASCAP); and “Cross Yourself,” written by Jay Joyce and published by Sploink Music / Jay Joyce/Haber Corporation (BMI).
Design by Barbara De Wilde
Photography by Jack Spencer
Hair and Makeup by Maria Verel
Styling by Claudia Fowler
Joshua Redman, tenor saxophone (1-9), soprano saxophone (10)
Aaron Parks, piano; tack piano, Prophet-5 (1); pump organ, humming (2); Rhodes, Prophet-5, Hammond Home Organ (4); Celeste, Prophet-5 (6); Rhodes (8); pump organ, Hammond Home Organ (9)
Matt Penman, bass
Eric Harland, drums