EMMYLOU HARRIS "Bluebird." Reprise
As thematically cohesive as her "Ballad of Sally Rose" concept album, but boasting a far stronger group of songs, "Bluebird" explores lost love from inside and out, from as near as a shared heartbeat and from as distant as an ocean of tears.
While the dominant issue here is love in collapse, the ever-present beauty and strength of Harris' voice prevent a slide into self-pity or despair that lesser singers would encounter with the same material.
Other than some excessive production that overshadows the unadorned pining of Rodney Crowell's "You've Been on My Mind," there's hardly an error in judgment to be found. Certainly Harris' choice of writers is sterling: Crowell, Butch Hancock, the McGarrigle sisters, Johnny Cash, John Hiatt, Tom Rush.