In the 70’s, Rodney Crowell was a member of Emmylou Harris’ band, The Hot Band, playing rhythm guitar and sung duets with her. He also wrote Blueberry Wine that she sung on her first LP, Pieces of the Sky. Crowell quit in 1977 to pursue his own solo career, but Harris still recorded his songs. Recently they released the duet CD, Old Yellow Moon. During SXSW they performed songs from the CD and also older songs at the Antone’s in Austin.
To see any of these two artists live is a pleasure in itself. To see them together was a great experience. I saw Emmylou at Antone’s in Austin two years ago when she performed songs from her last CD, Hard Bargain. That time she was sitting down, and made a performance that seemed a bit restrained. At Antone’s with Rodney Crowell she was much more relaxed, moving around on stage.
The two times I have seen Rodney Crowell live before, were at Antone’s and at the Seljord Country festival in Norway – both in 2005. He showed himself to be a no-frills performer with great songs and a good and strong voice. He also seemed to enjoy himself together with Emmylou Harris at Antone’s.
The main portion of songs they performed together, comes from Old Yellow Moon. The songs are a mix of new and old ones, Blueberry Wine being one of these. They also did Dreaming My Dreams by Allen Reynolds, one of my favorites from the CD. Their dueting felt very natural and easy flowing, and their band did a great job backing them, with some stellar solo work from the guitarist.
At the end of the concert, the two artists did a couple of their own songs, starting with Emmylou Harris. She did a heartfelt version of Townes van Zandt’s Pancho and Lefty that showed us that both her voice and her delivery is still top class. The – for many of us, too short concert – ended with Rodney Crowell doing I Ain’t Living Long Like This, the song he wrote that Emmylou Harris did on Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town from 1978.
The concert at SXSW marked the start of a long tour with March and April, plus June in the US, while they do Europe in May. The duo play in Oslo May 27th, and I will highly recommend all fans of these two great artists to see them when they come by.
All pictures are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.