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Harris: clearly at her best

Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, June 11, 2022

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Emmylou Harris highlighted the appropriateness of covering Buck Owens' "Together Again" tonight, especially as the recent pandemic severely limited concert gatherings. Oh, it was so good to get back together with Harris, who one of country music's best and most distinctive vocalists. She's also akin to a walking talking encyclopedia of country music history, as she performed bluegrass, honky tonk, country-rock and contemporary Americana songs. This history lesson was much more entertaining than anything we ever got in grade school, to be sure.

Harris almost always does Gram Parsons-associated songs, like "Ooh Las Vegas and "Wheels," which she performed – and performed well – tonight. However, she also sang the wonderfully spiritual Steve Earle song "God Is God," which she rarely sings live. She made only one obvious mistake, when she needed to restart "Michelangelo." However, we didn't mind; it came across more like bonus content to the faithful.

A five-piece band backed Harris, and while this was not The Hot Band, these players were nevertheless hot. It takes a lot of flexibility and skill to bounce between all these different styles, and even throw in an acapella song. There was plenty of fiddle, honky tonk piano and twangy guitar music played.

Harris looked and sounded beautiful. Her voice was strong all the way through and a lot more powerful than you might realize. She's not considered a belter, but, man, she really belted a few out this evening. She performed for nearly two hours without a break, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar and enthusiastically dance a bit on many of the more upbeat songs.

It's always wise to catch Harris live whenever she's in town. Although she never disappoints, she was especially good tonight. Her strong singing, matched to numerous fine songs, made for nearly the perfect Harris concert experience. It was without question one of her best SoCal shows in recent memory. Make it a point to see her on this tour, if you can, because Emmylou Harris clearly at her best right now.

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