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Emmylou Harris – Pieces of the Sky (1975)

November 20, 2016


Unbelievable USA logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

USA Artists (so far): Aimee Mann, Marty Robbins, D’Angelo, The Modern Lovers, Bruce Springsteen, Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, Steely Dan, Grant Lee Buffalo, 2Pac, Harry Nilsson, Linkin Park, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris


[Album 492/1001]

As I told Marshall @ FreeCitySounds when he recently reviewed a Kacey Musgraves album, I play her song, Follow Your Arrow, to teach the Distributive Property in Grade 9 Math.

A typical lesson:


But last year, when I asked my class to fill out surveys partway through the year (more of this/less of that type of feedback), multiple students suggested that I should “play less country.”

To that point in the semester, I’d only played the one Kacey Musgraves track!

I can sympathize, as in high school, I certainly learned my ABCs (Anything But Country) when it came to describing music you liked. Admittedly, many modern country artists are somewhat indistinguishable to my untrained ears.

However, to apply such a blanket ABC statement to old school country?

Big mistake.emmylouharrispiecesofthesky

Unless, the ABC acronym is shorthand for All ‘Bout Country!

Though I personally prefer Red Dirt Girl, Emmylou still shines on Pieces of the Sky. She’s only credited with one co-write on the album, Boulder to Birmingham, and it’s hands-down the most memorable track. As such, I’d also prefer more original compositions (as she would later prove to be a terrific lyricist) but to modify a familiar parenting expression, I’ll get what I get and I won’t get upset.

And very little here should cause any upset feelings to listeners.

Even for Grade 9s who don’t like (or who don’t think they like) country.


Verbalize the Positive

I appreciate Marshall @ FreeCitySounds‘ recent post, the one that gave me the idea for this review. I also like that he knows it’s OK to publicly declare his enjoyment of country music!

From → 1970s

  1. I’m thought I was in the ‘Anything But…’ category but actually I might prefer country music to Algebra.

  2. Marshall Gu permalink

    Ha! Follow your arrow – clever.

    Euh, I hated country back in high school, so while I don’t like that your students didn’t care for it, I also empathize a bit.

    As far as country goes, that’s as mainstream pop crossover as it gets too!

  3. Great read. My problem with the cross over is when Rock Artists like Leppard that they did the McGraw track. Like c’mon Man! Trying to hitch onto anything for a hit. Jovi got away with it somewhat with there Hee Haw album a few years back.
    At least Mellancamp did it back in the late 80s with the Jubilee album when it wasn’t vogue to do it!

    • Thanks Deke – yeah when it feels like ‘trend chasing’ I struggle to warm up to it too.
      I just looked up the Mellencamp album, I don’t have that one, the reviews all look pretty positive though!

      • Paper On Fire is an great track. At the time I was like not too sure what he was doing but he was pushing boundaries back when not to many 80s artists were…
        Still though his fav album of mine is 91’s Whenever We Wanted which as i said in my review kicked the Scarecrow and the Fiddle to the curb! hahaha….

  4. Here is some math for you.

    Emmylou Harris = Awesome x ∞

  5. A favourite of mine, Geoff (again!)… a really special album this one. Emmylou is, in my view, peerless. Her early, post-Gram, highlights just how great an interpreter she is of other people’s work. This being an obvious highlight, but the two albums that followed (Elite Hotel and Luxury Liner) are also pretty stellar. Roses In The Snow, however, might be its equal. Depends on the day.

    I’ve never been that fond of her 80’s output other than The Ballad Of Sally Rose (which was the only album largely written, or co-written, by her until Red Dirt Girl!) and aside from Wrecking Ball I tend to ignore the 90’s output, too. It’s hard to go wrong with the 2000’s stuff…

    • Haha, my USA month is quickly developing into the surprise tour of J’s favourite records!
      Elite Hotel and Luxury Liner will be my next stops in the Emmylou catalogue – I like that description of ‘peerless’ – that’s an artist worth exploring!

      • No kidding, Geoff – you’ve already explored a few of them, so I’m looking forward to reading your views on another of my favourites soon! 🙂

  6. Zack permalink

    I usually steer pretty clear of country, but I did listen to A LOT of it growing up. And sometimes it’s really hard to shake off your upbringing. So yesterday at work I had to jam to some Patsy Cline. Don’t judge me!

  7. ABC, eh? LOL thing.

    Geoff, how do you feel about Anything But Calculus?

  8. I am a simple man. I see Emmy Lou Harris, I click Like!

  9. Man, I was terrible at algebra. I kept trying to make words out of the letters, but there were so few…

    I don’t know if I have Pieces Of Sky (I don’t think I do) but I want to! I buy ELH with confidence whenever I see her records.

    Also, I will cast my vote for saying it is A-OK to say you like country music. Those kids in your class (grade 9s? oh dear) will mature and learn to appreciate good music no matter what genre it is.

    • It seems to pop up at thrift stores – hopefully it will arrive at your VV soon!
      And agreed, the grade 9s will get there, but I’m afraid to admit, to modify the BNL line, that was me in grade 9 baby, yeah, that was me in grade 9!

      • If I see ELH in my shoppe, I’ll buy it as soon as I can!

        Oof, grade 9. You couldn’t pay me enough money to go back and do that again.

      • ditto – I’m happy teaching grade 9s, less than no interest in going back and being a student there again!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Randy Newman – Good Old Boys (1974) | 1001albumsin10years
  2. The Monkees – Headquarters (1967) | 1001albumsin10years
  3. Liz Phair – Exile in Guyville (1993) | 1001albumsin10years
  4. The Byrds – Younger than Yesterday (1967) | 1001albumsin10years
  5. Anita Baker – Rapture (1986) | 1001albumsin10years
  6. Circle Jerks – Group Sex (1980) | 1001albumsin10years
  7. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (1976) | 1001albumsin10years
  8. Wilco – Being There (1996) | 1001albumsin10years
  9. Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet (1986) | 1001albumsin10years
  10. 1975 | 1001albumsin10years

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