Hard Bargain (Emmylou Harris album)

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Hard Bargain
HardBargain (Emmylou Harris).jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 26, 2011
RecordedAugust 2010
GenreCountry Folk, Americana
ProducerJay Joyce
Emmylou Harris chronology
All I Intended to Be
Hard Bargain
Old Yellow Moon
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Metacritic(6.9/10) MC
69/100, 19 critics
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars 2011
Billboard9/10 stars 2011
Entertainment WeeklyB+ link
guardian.co.uk3/5 stars link
Los Angeles Times2.5/4 stars link
PopMatters.com8/10 stars link
Slant Magazine3.5/5 stars 2011
The Independent3/5 stars link
New Zealand Herald4/5 stars link
Paste Magazine8/10 stars link
Country Weekly3.5/4 stars link
The Press (York)5/5 stars link

Hard Bargain is the twenty-sixth studio album by American country music singer-songwriter Emmylou Harris, released on April 26, 2011,[1] and recorded at Tragedy/Tragedy, TN. The album is her fourth solo recording for Nonesuch Records.

With 17,000 copies sold in its first week, the album debuted at number three on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums,[2] Harris' highest entry since her bluegrass LP Roses in the Snow in 1980. At the same time it debuted at number 18 on the Billboard 200,[3] displacing 1977's Luxury Liner as her most successful solo LP ever on that chart.

Album information[edit]

The songs which were to become the "Hard Bargain" album were, according to Emmylou, recorded within four weeks in August 2010. Only three people can be heard on the album, namely Harris herself, producer Jay Joyce, and Giles Reaves. In December 2010 six video clips were filmed at Laughing House Studios, Nashville, TN, directed by Jack Spencer.[4] These videos, with additional commentary, can be found on the bonus DVD of the album's deluxe release.

The opening number "The Road" is about the late Gram Parsons, her musical mentor who died in 1973 and is the first Harris-penned song to focus on his death since "Boulder to Birmingham", a track from her 1975 release Pieces of the Sky.

"Darlin' Kate" is a tribute to the late Kate McGarrigle who died of cancer in 2010. Kate, and her sister Anna McGarrigle, collaborated with Harris on numerous occasions since the 1970s.

"My Name Is Emmett Till" tells the story of Emmett Till, an African-American boy who was killed in 1955.

Track listing[edit]

1."The Road"Emmylou Harris5:31
2."Home Sweet Home"Harris3:45
3."My Name Is Emmett Till"Harris4:53
4."Goodnight Old World"Harris, Will Jennings3:55
5."New Orleans"Harris, Jennings3:38
6."Big Black Dog"Harris3:26
7."Lonely Girl"Harris4:44
8."Hard Bargain"Ron Sexsmith3:23
9."Six White Cadillacs"Harris, Jennings3:22
10."The Ship on His Arm"Harris4:46
11."Darlin' Kate"Harris3:08
13."Cross Yourself"Jay Joyce3:36


  • Emmylou Harris – vocals, acoustic guitar
  • Jay Joyce – guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, piano, omnichord, ganjo, mandolin
  • Giles Reaves – drums, keyboards, percussion, piano, organ, vibraphone, marimbula


Chart (2011) Peak
Australian Albums Chart 48[5]
Australian Country Albums Chart 2
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders) 39
Belgian Albums Chart (Wallonia) 95
Canadian Albums Chart 20
Danish Albums Chart 27
Canadian Country Albums Chart 2
Dutch Albums Chart 15
German Albums Chart 49
Irish Individual Artist Albums 36
New Zealand Albums Chart 28
Norwegian Albums Chart 11
Swedish Albums Chart 15
Swiss Albums Chart 76
UK Albums Chart 30
UK Country Albums Chart 2
US Billboard 200 18
US Billboard Top Country Albums 3
US Billboard Folk Albums 3
US Billboard Rock Albums 6


  1. ^ "Emmylou Harris | Nonesuch Records". Nonesuch.com. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
  2. ^ May 4th 2011 2:00PM by Stephen L. Betts Comments (2011-05-04). "Emmylou Harris' 'Hard Bargain' Debuts at No. 3 on Country Chart". The Boot. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
  3. ^ Kaufman, Gil (2011-05-04). "Adele Tops Billboard Albums Chart Once Again - Music, Celebrity, Artist News". MTV. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
  4. ^ "Hard Bargain | Nonesuch Records". Nonesuch.com. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
  5. ^ "Top 50 Albums Chart - Australian Recording Industry Association". ARIA. Retrieved 2011-05-15.