Emmylou Harris is back like you've never heard her before! All right, that's kind of a joke. After all, if you're a fan of country music and don't live under a rock, you've no doubt heard about Emmy. She got her start as Gram Parson's sidekick and has pretty much become the symbol of what Nashville once was capable of - and what it might aspire to again. Lately, Harris has opted for the less-traveled path. Her recent output includes a beautiful but genre-bending album produced by Daniel Lanois and a live album with her new band, Spyboy, that puts more of a kick into her often-straitlaced vocals than one thought might be possible.
So it's interesting to hear two old Harris offerings that until now have never seen the light of day on CD in the U.S. "Cimarron" is the more mannered of the two and consists of a wide selection of outtakes and selections that never made it onto earlier albums like "Roses In The Snow" or "Evangeline." Selections include Bruce Springsteen's "The Price You Pay" and a pretty reworking of "Spanish Is A Loving Tongue," but make sure to check out the bonus track, a beautiful version of Rodney Crowell's "Colors Of Your Heart." It's worth the wait.
"Last Date" is a fine live album, performed with one of the latter versions of Harris' legendary Hot Band. Rhythm guitarist Barry Tashian adds back-up vocals for Parsons-era workouts like "We'll Sweet Out The Ashes (In The Morning)," and Harris offers sterling performances of "Return Of The Grievous Angel" and Neil Young's "Long May You Run." As history has shown, this wasn't her last date by a country mile.