Wrecking Ball (Emmylou Harris album)

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Wrecking Ball
Studio album by Emmylou Harris
Released September 26, 1995
Recorded New Orleans, 1995
Genre Country, rock
Length 53:06
Label Elektra
Producer Daniel Lanois
Emmylou Harris chronology
Cowgirl's Prayer
(1993)
Wrecking Ball
(1995)
Spyboy
(1998)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Entertainment Weekly A−[2]
Los Angeles Times 3/4 stars[3]
Robert Christgau (B)[4]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[5]
The Austin Chronicle 3.5/5 stars[6]

Wrecking Ball is the eighteenth studio album by American country artist Emmylou Harris, released on September 26, 1995 through Elektra Records. Moving away from the traditional acoustic sound for which she had become known, Harris collaborated with rock producer Daniel Lanois (best known for his production work with U2) and engineer Mark Howard.[7] The album has been noted for atmospheric feel, and featured guest performances by Steve Earle, Larry Mullen, Jr., Lucinda Williams and Neil Young, who wrote the title song.

Background[edit]

Though her choice of songs had always been eclectic, the album was regarded as a departure for Harris who, by the age of 48, had become something of an elder stateswoman in country music. It received almost universally positive reviews, making many critics' year-end "best of" lists, and pointed Harris' career in a somewhat different direction, where she would incorporate a harder, albeit plaintive edge that would single her out from the complacent, country music mainstream. As a career-redefining album, Wrecking Ball was likened to Marianne Faithfull's 1979 Broken English album and Johnny Cash's later American Recordings. Wrecking Ball won the 1996 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Recording.

Content[edit]

Harris covered Neil Young's song "Wrecking Ball", and the track includes harmonies by Young.[8] Although the song was released by Harris as a 2-track CD single with Lucinda Williams' "Sweet Old World", reviewers did not consider the title track the high point on the album.[9]

Personnel[edit]

  • Emmylou Harris – vocals, acoustic guitar on 3 5 7 10 11 12, harmony vocals on 10
  • Daniel Lanoismandolin on 1 2 3 5 8 10 11 12, electric guitar on 1 2 3 4 6 8 9 11 12, acoustic guitar on 2 7 11, bass on 1 3, dulcimer on 10, duet vocals on 1 9, chant vocals on 3, percussion on 4, bass pedals on 8
  • Malcolm Burn – piano on 2 4 8 11 12, tambourine on 4 10 11, vibes on 4, organ on 5 7, synthesizer on 5, keyboards on 6, slide guitar on 8 12, bass on 11, drums on 11, harmony vocals on 11
  • Larry Mullen, Jr. – drums on 2 4 6 7 8 9 12, cymbal on 4, hand drum on 10
  • Tony Hall – percussion, bass on 2 4 6 7 12, stick drum on 10
  • Daryl Johnson – high harmony vocals on 1, tom tom on 1, drum kit bass pedals on 5, backing vocals on 5, harmonic bass on 6, harmony vocals on 10

Additional personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Album

Year Chart Position
1995 The Billboard 200 94

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Where Will I Be?" [with Daniel Lanois] (Daniel Lanois) – 4:15
  2. "Goodbye" (Steve Earle) – 4:53
  3. "All My Tears" (Julie Miller) – 3:42
  4. "Wrecking Ball" (Neil Young) – 4:49
  5. "Goin' Back to Harlan" (Anna McGarrigle) – 4:51
  6. "Deeper Well" (David Olney, Lanois, Emmylou Harris) – 4:19
  7. "Every Grain of Sand" (Bob Dylan) – 3:56
  8. "Sweet Old World" (Lucinda Williams) – 5:06
  9. "May This Be Love" [with Daniel Lanois] (Jimi Hendrix) – 4:45
  10. "Orphan Girl" (Gillian Welch) – 3:15
  11. "Blackhawk" (Daniel Lanois) – 4:28
  12. "Waltz Across Texas Tonight" (Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris) – 4:46

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Review: Wrecking Ball – Emmylou Harris". Allmusic. Retrieved August 5, 2009. 
  2. ^ Nash, Alanna (September 29, 1995). "Music Review: Wrecking Ball, Emmylou Harris". Retrieved May 11, 2011. 
  3. ^ Cromelin, Richard. "Fall Album Roundup: EMMYLOU HARRIS, "Wrecking Ball"". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 11, 2011. 
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Review: Wrecking Ball (Elektra, 1995)". Retrieved August 5, 2009. 
  5. ^ Richardson, Susan (November 16, 1995). "Review: Emmylou Harris – Wrecking Ball". Jann Wenner. Retrieved August 5, 2009. 
  6. ^ Blount, Kirven (November 16, 1995). "Review: EMMYLOU HARRIS – Wrecking Ball (Reprise)". The Austin Chronicle. Nick Barbaro. Retrieved August 5, 2009. 
  7. ^ Hurst, Jack (November 7, 1995). "Harris' Saving Grace May Be Her Difference". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  8. ^ The Journal of Country Music 1996 Volume 18 - Page 11 "One can hear that same sort of ache, an almost primordial loneliness, running through the whole of Wrecking Ball, her Grammy-winning current album. Having drawn on the catalogs of Earle, Neil Young, Lucinda Williams, Bob Dylan, and ..."
  9. ^ CD Review Volume 12, Issues 1-9 - Page 13 1995 "Wrecking Ball peaks not with the Neil Young-penned title cut (with its author singing harmony) , but in the one-two punch of Lucinda Williams' "Sweet Old World" followed by Jimi Hendrix's "May This Be Love.".