Emmylou Harris – Telluride Bluegrass Festival, CO

Emmylou Harris

Emmylou took the stage at Telluride around 8pm, right on schedule.

She opened with My Songbird, went straight into Easy From Now On and then Blackhawk.

She told us how this was the only the second time she’s played with Danny Flowers and the first time was in Oxford, Mississippi and because of that she had to learn all of the Mississippi songs.

She said the next one had too many chords and was a good test for the “over-fifty disease.”

The woman next to me exclaimed, “She’s over fifty!?” She played Miss The Mississippi and You. Next was Red Dirt Girl and then Pancho and Lefty.

At this point, she told another story about how she started singing Gulf Coast Highway after Nanci Griffith went off tour and that she didn’t know it at the time, but Danny had helped write it. She also said that it reminded her of her parents.

Danny sang Livin’ On Tulsa Time and then Emmy told a story about knowing Danny in college, in “North Car-o-line-a” and about her first album which she put out in 1975. She acted surprised that it could possibly be thirty years ago.

They sang Before Believing and then Emmy talked about how she used to have chestnut hair and they went into another song from Pieces Of Sky, a Louvin Brothers song, If I Could Only Win Your Love.

She then started talking about how she had a not so new album, and she knew it is time for another one but she’s been busy but she wanted to play a few songs from it anyway.

She introduced Jupiter Rising as a happy song, and she wasn’t sure what happened because she doesn’t really write a lot of happy songs. She said she must have been “possessed by aliens at the time.”

When she was finished, she decided it was more “hopeful” and that she hoped it wasn’t “too perky.” She then talked about how when she wrote the next song, it was right after she heard that June Carter Cash was in the hospital and that she felt like June had just dropped the song in her lap on her way up. She played Strong Hand.

She sang Orphan Girl and then said how she was going back thirty years again to her first albums and the greatest country songwriters, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, that was For No One.

She told us she was getting cold, and that she had been afraid of that, so she wore her pants under her skirt because it was more important to be warm than to look good. She said that maybe the pantaloon look will come back, and she also said her hands were cold. She modeled her pants for us, pulling her skirt up and kinda dancing around for a moment.

She sang If I Needed You and then called Sam Bush out, because “it’s good to be – it’s good to know the king”. While they were switching her guitar, she lost the strap and had to twist around looking for it. Sam and Emmy sang Lucinda Williams’ Sweet Old World which was introduced as “a song by Lucinda Williams, I love her… I love this song.”

She did her “other song about Mississippi, the Boy From Tupelo and then invited “a couple of my favorite people” up on stage with her, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. She joked “it’s so rare that people sit in on another person’s set… it’s such an unfriendly group… it’s all about the money…”

She talked about how she was there with her daughters, Hallie and Meghann, her friend Sue and Sue’s son, Chris. She said it was like a family vacation they do every year and she wants to keep doing it another thirty years (she said, “assuming they invite me back.”) Emmy, Gillian and David sang Your Long Journey, a Doc Watson song.

Gillian had on a black dress with white stripes and cowboy boots and a hat. Emmy thanked us for listening to her and David and Gil and Danny and Sam and that Telluride was the very best festival in the world and they all sang on Green Pastures.

They said goodbye and Emmy did a little bow with her hands in a prayer position.

For the encore, she came out and said, “I came back out really because I wanted to do another one with Sam and everyone… and you know ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.'” They broke into Leaving Louisiana In The Broad Daylight and then it was over.

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