Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell: power of the song

photo by Scott Newton

“It’s great to be back at the world’s greatest and longest-running music show,” enthused Emmylou Harris tonight during her latest ACL taping. To say that she and Rodney Crowell aren’t strangers to our stage seems inadequate. Both Texas native Crowell and his current partner and former employer Harris have been on seven times apiece. The pair even shared an episode in 1983, though they didn’t share the stage. Tonight, however, these two old friends celebrated their shared history, their new collaborative album Old Yellow Moon and the continuing power of the song.

The pair opened with “Return of the Grievous Angel,” from Emmylou’s time with her mentor Gram Parsons. The GP connection continued with “Wheels,” a Flying Burrito Brothers-era Parsons tune Emmylou recorded on Elite Hotel, her first major label album and the beginning of her reign over the country music charts. That began the roll of hits, as the pair essayed “Pancho & Lefty,” ‘Til I Gain Control Again,” “I’ll Be Your San Antone Rose” (dedicated to its author, the late Susannah Clark) and “Luxury Liner,” another GP tune set aflame by lead guitarist Jedd Hughes’ turbo-powered chicken-pickin’. The duo fast-forwarded to a more recent era for “Red Dirt Girl” (from Harris’ LP of the same name) and “Rock of My Soul” (from Crowell’s career revitalization The Houston Kid), their voices wrapped the songs in the kind of harmonies only two old friends can generate.

An Old Yellow Moon rose for the next segment of the show, as the pair drew heavily from that LP. The pleasure these two old pals obviously took from singing some of their favorite songs – from Roger Miller’s honky-tonkin’ “Invitation to the Blues” and Matraca Berg’s melancholy “Back When We Were Beautiful” to Allen Reynolds’ elegant “Dreaming My Dreams” and Kris Kristofferson’s cautionary but rocking “Chase the Feeling” – was palpable. Then it was back to the hits, as the pair broke out Emmylou’s lovely take on Townes Van Zandt’s “If I Needed You,” blazed through Crowell’s “Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight” (recorded by both of them at different points) and ended with the peaceful waltz of “Old Yellow Moon.”

Of course, the show wasn’t over. The duo and band returned, Harris and special guest Shawn Colvin dancing their way through Crowell’s “Stars On the Water.” The musicians rocked a blazing “I Ain’t Livin’ Long Like This,” a song not on the original setlist but an addition that drove the crowd wild. After a visit from Harris’ rescue dogs (brought onstage in tribute to Austin’s status as a no-kill city), the pair ended with “Tulsa Queen,” a co-write from Harris’ classic LP Luxury Liner that was a most appropriate way to end this tandem performance.

It was a magnificent show that reminded us that veterans get to that point for good reason. We’re eager for everybody to see it when it broadcasts on PBS in the fall – stay tuned.

Ticket Giveaway: Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell

photo by David McClister

* Giveaway is now over

Austin City Limits will be taping a performance by Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell on Friday, June 14th, at 8 pm at ACL Live at The Moody Theater (310 W. 2nd Street, Willie Nelson Blvd).  We will be giving away a limited number of space available passes to this taping. Enter your name and email address on the below form by 9 am Wednesday, June 12th.

Passes are not transferable and cannot be sold. Standing may be required.

No photography, recording or cell phone use in the studio.

New tapings: Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell and Jesse & Joy

photo by David McClister

We’re excited to announce a pair of new tapings for June, both from duos – one featuring music veterans and the other by fast-rising newcomers.

Back in the mid-70s, Emmylou Harris was a rising star in country music and Rodney Crowell was a up-and-coming young songwriter who played rhythm guitar in Harris’ Hot Band. Nearly four decades later, each has become an Americana icon, and the pair reunites for the acclaimed duet album Old Yellow Moon. ACL vets both, the duo brings their tour in support of the record to our stage on June 14 for what is sure to be a landmark taping.

On June 17, we welcome, for the first time, Jesse & Joy.  The award-winning brother and sister duo from Mexico was a hit with Latin audiences practically right from the start, climbing up the Mexican and U.S. charts starting in 2006 and culminating in the triple platinum LP ¿Con Quién Se Queda El Perro?. The twosome also boasts five Latin Grammy awards, including Song and Record of the Year for the hit “¡Corre!” We’re excited to host these international rising superstars.

photo by Francis Bertrand

We’ll be announcing the ticket giveaways for these incredible shows as we get closer to the taping dates. Keep up with the latest by following us on Facebook and Twitter. More to come – stay tuned!