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Emmylou Harris – Red Dirt Girl (2000)

September 30, 2015

(Lovely Logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming)


Songstress #1: Loretta Lynn

Songstress #2: Neneh Cherry

Songstress #3: Dusty Springfield

Songstress #4: Dolly Parton

Songstress(es) #5: Le Tigre

Songstress #6: Emmylou Harris

[Album 426/1001]

This was supposed to be a review of Emmylou’s Pieces of the Sky.

Unfortunately, things unraveled quickly; due to my non-existent repair skills, I am now left with pieces of the 8-track.

My ($1 purchase price) loss is still too fresh, I don’t want to talk about it!



So instead, a review of Emmylou’s Red Dirt Girl.

The 8-track debacle may have been a blessing in disguise as Red Dirt Girl feels like the right record at the right time for me.

Last week I mentioned Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors was an equally good fit at 9 a.m. & 9 p.m.

Red Dirt Girl gets the job done nicely at 10 & 10; it’s been boosting my productivity during my prep period & it’s been soothing at home just before bed.


I hesitate to begin sentences with, “I don’t mean to sound sexist…”EmmylouHarrisRedDirtGirl

But that being said…

Now I don’t mean to sound sexist but I’ve learned a bit about myself in the September Songstress Spotlight: when the songstresses sing, I listen.

Lyrics often blend into the overall atmosphere for me but I’ve been much more aware of them this month.

Emmylou had some beauties here too, including my two favourites:

“Time is a brutal but a careless thief, Who takes our lot but leaves behind the grief” (The Pearl)

“But one thing they don’t tell you about the blues, When you got em, You keep on falling cause there ain’t no bottom” (Red Dirt Girl)


Listening primarily on my digital iPod, this may have lacked the analog charm of the 8-track but was considerably more portable (and less unravel-y).

It also made for a symbolic transition from Pieces of the Sky to Red Dirt Girl: the technology keeps moving but the songwriting sensibilities remain intact.

And on any listening medium, that sounds good to me.

From → 2000s

  1. Great 8 Track Tape fallout shot! Awesome your diverse in your musical tastes! Myself as I have stated many a time ..I’m a 1 Trick Pony!

    • Thanks fine in my books too Deke – you do what you do and you do it well!

    • As for the 8-track, it’s funny I started looking up ‘8 track repair’ on google, they have instructions believe it or not!
      But I thought after a brief cost/benefit analysis, chances are even if I respool the whole tape, it may still not work properly.
      So I considered the $1 a sunk cost and moved on with life!

      • Ha great reply! $1 sunk cost ..moved on with life!

  2. Such a good album! Have you heard her collaboration with Mark Knopfler? All the Roadrunning, I believe it’s called.

    Interesting reflections on sexism…maybe that’s the case, but I suggest it’s simply very good music! Your list so far is stellar.

    • I have not – but that sounds quite promising, two terrific talents!
      And many thanks Danica, it’s been a fun month of songstresses & Top 15s!

      • Yes! They also sound great together. Have you listened to much Emmylou Harris before? If not, I also recommend The Trio: Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt.
        It has been fun and I’m enjoying this project since they’ve all been on my looong initial Top 15 list.

      • Trio’s the only other one I’ve heard, also on the 1001! I listened to that a few years ago, that’s where I really started to appreciate Dolly in particular as a songwriter

      • They’re fantastic, aren’t they? Dolly is an incredible talent and she’s a prolific songwriter as well. I love her. Well, all of them really.

  3. Ohhhhh I could listen to Emmylou Harris anytime. I haven’t heard this particular album but it wouldn’t matter. I haven’t heard one from her I didn’t like! Nice use of the quotes (those are good ones). Sorry to hear about the 8-track debacle. Alas.

    Nice one, Geoff!

  4. This is a great album! But do you actually have an 8-track player?

  5. Red Dirt Girl is a suitable replacement for Pieces of the Sky, I reckon. Two of my favourite Emmylou albums those …

    Her output has been remarkably stellar since (and including) Wrecking Ball, but this is a highlight. Michelangelo and the title track are just about perfect.

    Better luck when you revisit Pieces of the Sky!

  6. Emmylou is awesome! She and Mark Knopfler got my husband and I through some house renos ten years ago (carpet ripping and laminate flooring install, to be exact).

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