Craig Cummings Music

Emmylou and Rodney Part 2

Emmylou and Rodney

Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell brought their Old Yellow Moon tour to the Strathmore Music Center in Bethesda, Maryland last evening. Yesterday, I wrote about them performing together again after many years. This post is just a quick review of last night’s show.

To put it simply, this was one of the best concerts I’ve seem in some time. The artists’ incredible taste and good sense in music was evident from their choice of songs (3 Gram Parsons tunes and one from Townes Van Zandt for starters), to their decision to put together a touring band that was the reincarnation of their 1970s collaboration, The Hot Band. The current version includes guitarist Jedd Hughes who at several points was channeling James Burton in a way that few would even attempt.

Emmylou and Rodney’s voices are a match made in heaven. From their decision to revist Van Zandt’s Pancho and Lefty to their soaring vocals on Roger Miller’s country shuffle Invitation To The Blues, the E&R show reminded us of what we’ve been missing all these years. While it’s certainly true that Emmylou can make pretty much anyone sound better, Rodney showed his own vocal chops throughout the show, and he reminded us all, with songs like Till I Gain Control Again and I’m Still Learning How To Fly, that he has been one of the finest songwriters in Country/Americana music for many years. If you’re not sure about this, just check out his 2008 solo release, Sex and Gasoline.

I suppose it’s hard to say how long their current collaboration will last. So, if you have a chance to see them when they come your way, don’t miss the show. I’m certainly hoping they come back this way.


2 Comments so far
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Well stated, CC. It struck me when the show began with “The Return of the Grievous Angel” that this could have been the tour following Gram and Emmy’s second album in 1974. Unfortunately, Gram died in September, 1973 and the album was released posthumously. The band from that album became The Hot Band when Emmy was signed to a record contract by Warner Brothers in 1975. All of the players were there last night with different names. I’ve known Jedd Hughes since 2003, when he was the lead guitar player in Patty Loveless’s band. He was a 20-year old kid from the Australian Outback who came to the U.S. when he was 19 to study with Alan Munde from Clarence White’s Kentucky Colonels and Byron Berline’s Country Gazette. Jedd was enamored with Gram and Clarence then. Now, he is living a dream, playing the James Burton role in Emmy’s band. I saw Jedd play at a Gram Tribute in L.A. in 2004, which was organized by Gram’s daughter, Polly, who now runs a drug rehab center for musicians. When I was talking to him at the stage after that 2004 show, James Burton came up behind him, looked at me, and gave Jedd a thumbs up behind his back – a nod from the Master of the Telecaster. I agree with Craig that this was one of the best shows I’ve seen in years – 3 hours of wall-to-wall brilliance.

Comment by Richard

Thanks for your comment. It was hard not to acknowledge the ghost of Gram Parsons hanging over this show. While Emmylou and Rodney certainly made their own magic, the 3 Gram tunes they performed reminded everyone of his enduring influence.

Comment by craigcummingsmusic

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