Emmylou Harris is a country music icon, but that doesn’t mean she gets played on the radio alongside Carrie Underwood and Kenny Chesney. Harris is an artist of amazing grace and class, and every album she releases just reinforces that impression. So All I Intended To Be, Emmylou’s first solo album in five years, fits comfortably alongside her past work. Harris seems to work best when she has interesting collaborators – here, she sings with Dolly Parton, Vince Gill and Kate and Anna McGarrigle on 13 songs that shiver with the ache of melancholy and loss. “Gold,” with Parton and Gill warbling behind Emmylou’s fragile vocal, is one of six that Emmylou wrote or co-wrote (a few with the McGarrigle sisters). All I Intended To Be is a perfect mood piece for a cloudy winter’s day, and perhaps it could use a few livelier tempos. But this music is transcendent and completely assured: even when Harris and McGarrigles cop the Carter Family riff for “How She Could Sing Wildwood Flower” they turn it into an original and emotionally affecting moment. The covers, including Merle Haggard’s “Kern River” and Patty Griffin’s “Moon Song,” fit in perfectly with the originals. With its folk/Americana sepia tinge, All I Intended To Be may appear to be down-home, but this is truly an uptown production.
MP3: “How She Could Sing Wildwood Flower”
Emmylou Harris official website