Long-time readers of this column—can you guess why I like Old Yellow Moon, the latest collaborative effort from Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell?
Think about it…I’ll wait….
Right. It’s old-school country, just the way I like it.
This partnership is not really all that surprising. Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris have had a natural musical chemistry since Crowell joined Harris’ “Hot Band” in the 1970s. After having a long and successful career of his own, Crowell now takes the mic beside Harris, and the result sounds as effortless as two old pros who have been singing together forever.
Listening to this record, I’m rewarded with piece after piece of ear candy, as Harris and Crowell move easily from western swing to bluegrass to dirty blues, sporting harmonies that could teach The Civil Wars a thing or three. From the opening track “Hanging Up My Heart” through the shuffling “Invitation to the Blues”, all the way through to the closing title track, I find countless moments of brilliance. This isn’t the loud, rock-tinged country that currently fills arenas and tops radio charts (although I suspect this particular record will see a bit of chart action just because of who is on it); this is more like your daddy’s country, smooth, easy, and just plain enjoyable to listen to.
While staying busy and prolific, neither Emmylou Harris nor Rodney Crowell have had the kind of exposure that we see these days from hot acts like Brad Paisley or Carrie Underwood. But put them together, and they amount to two country icons that are even greater than the sum of their parts. True old-school country aficionados will definitely want Old Yellow Moon in their collection.