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Topic: Richard Thompson
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November 1, 2013 at 9:00 AM
Emmylou Harris’ soprano is one of the most distinctive voices in the business, which is probably why she has always been in high demand as a duet partner throughout her remarkable career.
Having paired with everyone from Gram Parsons to Mark Knopfler, her most recent collaboration is with country singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell. Crowell and Harris hit the studio last year and released “Old Yellow Moon” in February.
The duo is touring in support of the album and will be at Benaroya Hall on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Expect the old friends (Crowell became a member of Harris’ backing outfit The Hot Band in 1975) to dip into the archives for some old favorites while also highlighting plenty of stuff from “Old Yellow Moon.”
While a lot of people will be looking to hear some older tunes, don’t discount “Old Yellow Moon.” On the whole it’s a worthy effort, but the album does have a couple of weak songs, like the silly “Black Caffeine” and “Bull Rider,” which seems to miss the thematic mark.
When things hit, however, “Old Yellow Moon” becomes truly compelling instead of just tastefully produced. Patti Scialfa’s somber ballad “Spanish Dancer” allows Harris to turn in a powerfully emotional performance, while Crowell’s “Bluebird Wine” lets the pair revisit 1975’s “Pieces of the Sky,” Harris’ eclectic album that first brought them together.
Crowell and Harris have been traveling with a five-piece band and they should be firing on all cylinders at the tail end of their national tour.
British singer-songwriter Richard Thompson opens. He has had his songs recorded by dozens of artists ranging from Elvis Costello to Bonnie Raitt and was acknowledged in 1991 as the best acoustic-guitar player in the world, winning the Orville H. Gibson award.
Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, with Richard Thompson, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Benaroya Hall; $125-$200 (866-833-4747 or seattlesymphony.org).
Owen R. Smith, on Twitter @inanedetails
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