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New Emmylou Harris - Stumble Into Grace

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Here's a thread for reviews and thoughts on the new Emmylou Harris album, "Stumble Into Grace." The album will be out soon, and reviews are already popping up.

Check out the review at www.allmusic.com. (You have to do a search for it.) That's heightened my anticipation, as "Wrecking Ball" remains one of my all-time favorite albums. ("Red Dirt Girl" was solid too, especially considering she wrote those songs.) The new one includes supporting efforts from Julie Miller, Buddy Miller, and Daniel Lanois, and was produced by Malcolm Burn.

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The reviews certainly sound promising.

she dips her toes into the spectral and atmospheric accents of folk, indie pop, and world music.

8O

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Chris   

so, has anyone heard the album now? i saw it yesterday, and read PASTE's article, and am thinking of using my Amazon gift certificate that direction...

wish i could hear her and Buddy when they are in town

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It's beautiful.

Just beautiful.

It's the best thing Malcolm Burn has produced. On a good stereo, there is so much dimension to ther recordings, it just takes your breath away. I haven't been a big Burn fan before, but he's taken a giant step forward with this.

The dream team involved is a volatile combination: Buddy Miller, Daniel Lanois, Malcolm Burn, the great Darryl Johnson on bass, the great Brady Blade on drums; Julie Miller, Jane Siberry (yes!!), Jill Cunniff, Kate and Anna McGarrigle on backing vocals.

The first song may be the first time Emmylou has sung from the point of view of the Almighty. The whole album is drenched in gospel, with God searching for his lost beloved, with declarations of true and unconditional love, with perspective on Babylon crumbling around us, and the persistent theme of grace. The song she wrote and tacked on at the last minute about June and Johnny Cash is heartbreaking.

I like this better than Red Dirt Girl, at least at this point. Harris's vocals are more modulated, more welcoming and intimate, whereas on Red Dirt Girl she sang very intensely, sternly, even harshly at times and I found it a bit off-putting.

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Chris   

i know so little about her background and am only a fairly recent fan. as she's writing more of her own lyrics these days, can y'all give me more insite into where she's writing/coming from?

thanks!

sounds like i'll be breakin down soon to get the album, even though i've come into such a wealth of new albums lately: OtR, Innocence Mission and Rufus. i'll just be swimming in sweet sounds

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Red Dirt Girl was great, Wrecking Ball was amazing, but Spyboy is one of the best albums ever. Really. No question about it.

Looking forward to hear this one.

That is all. smile.gif

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NClarke   

An intial response to listening to the album once. I like it a lot. I would put it alongside Red Dirt Girl, but for my tastes I will take Wrecking Ball above it (this is without a close examination of the lyrics.) Wrecking Ball felt like nothing I had ever heard - a totally new sound that was haunting yet hopeful in ways.

Sonically I felt that the new album has similar sounds to Red Dirt Girl. I still have to take a closer look at the lyrics - but it looks like there are some great depths to explore.

I think I am going to agree wtih Daryl on the Spy Boy one. Buddy Miller's guitar is one of those things that I assume is a studio creation, but to hear him play live is just incredible. The life and vitality of that band is just incredible.

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Well, keep in mind that Wrecking Ball is an album almost entirely made up of great covers. I agree, it's a superior album, but what sets Stumble Into Grace apart for me is that the songs are all (but one, I think) written by Harris herself. (That was the case for Red Dirt Girl, but I prefer this collection.) And yeah, that's the Spyboy band backing her up, with some equally talented folks joining forces with them.

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This album's getting a bit more exposure than most music we discuss here smile.gif Our NPR station in Dallas, KERA, is constantly pimping it, "This program has been brought to you by Stumble into Grace, the new album by Emmylou Harris, available from Tower Records."

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Andrew   

First full listen to it today: what a lovely album, with some very moving lyrics!

'Lost Unto This World' stopped me in my tracks, with its lament for the brutalized of the Third World -- kind of a 'sheep and goats' moment: I know about the suffering of the poor and war-torn, but what am I doing about it?

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I haven't heard Stumble Into Grace yet, but I'm curious... how do you Emmylou fans think this one compares to this year's other big country record, Lucinda Williams' World Without Tears?

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I got this one for Christmas. Oh, wow... simply gorgeous. In fact, this may very well become my favorite album of the year.

Unlike Red Dirt Girl, this record is consistently interesting. And, unlike Wrecking Ball, it's consistently interesting not because of the production or the band, but because of Emmylou herself. As much as I love Wrecking Ball, my interest in that album is largely due to Daniel Lanois, the musicians he assembled, and the selection of great cover songs. Stumble Into Grace is a great album on the strengths of Emmy's singing and songwriting.

But that's not to say that the production and the band are lacking; this is a fine, fine recording from Malcom Burn. The musicians are wonderful, as well; I love that the drummers actually give us some percussion, accenting and flavoring the songs rather than overpowering them or merely keeping the beat.

"Here I am" is a fantastic opener; "I Will Dream" moved me to tears; but the real showstopper is "Strong Hand." Powerful, powerful stuff.

One possible complaint: "Time in Babylon" seems a little too easy. It doesn't really tell us anything we didn't already know, does it? And it doesn't really make us think, does it? Or is that just me?

Still, a masterful album. It may eventually become my favorite Emmylou recording.

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