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Emmylou Harris

All the Roadrunning – 2006 (Warner/Nonesuch)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Emmylou Harris

Pairing roots artist Mark Knopfler and sweet country singer Emmylou Harris may seem an unlikely pairing at first because of their backgrounds. But thanks to a slew of good songs, the combo works exceedingly well.

Harris and Knopfler are best when they trade off vocals as the give and takes works well ("Love and Happiness," the title track). At times, they harmonize, although backing vocals sound better mainly because of Harris' clear vocal strengths.

Both performers are well-suited to the material on which they sing. Harris tends to take leads on the slower, more country songs ("Rollin' On"), while former Dire Straits leader Knopfler, how wrote 10 of the 12 songs, handles the rootsier material for the most part.

There is an easy going, never rushed feel to the proceedings though turning up the tempo a few times ("Belle Star," "Beyond My Wildest Dreams") certainly makes for a more interesting listen. Knopfler's typically stellar idiosyncratic guitar playing does wonders to the songs with his exact, but never showy picking.

This is the kind of experimentation that isn't borne by looking at the bottom line or reality TV show fortunately, but the reality of the experiment is that it passes with flying colors.