The crowned queen of Telluride, Ms. Emmylou Harris, took the stage for the fourth time in as many days for her own set on the final night of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.
With her band, the Red Dirt Boys, she ran through an hour and ten minutes of music, focusing on material from her “brunette days” and from her latest album, All I Intended to Be.
Return of the Grievous Angel
“Yay Telluride! I’m Emmylou Harris and these are the Red Dirt Boys. What happened to the weather? It got beautiful!”
One of These Days
“I put a record out last year and you have to keep putting those darn things out or they don’t let you work anymore. But anyway, I got a chance to sing and record some of my favorite songs by other artists and this is my very favorite Merle Haggard song.”
“Here’s another great American writer, Mr. Townes Van Zandt.”
Pancho and Lefty
“Thank you,” she said dropping her pick into her cup of tea. “Hey, I just made a new drink. I dropped my pick into my tea – this ought to be really delicious. Maybe it’ll like make you young or something.”
Someone yelled ‘Red Dirt Girl!’ and she laughed saying, “Hey, you must have ESPN!”
Red Dirt Girl
“Thank you so much, a lot of you have been for the whole four days? Well I have, I try not to miss Telluride, the whole thing. Anyway, I don’t know if you saw, I was with a pretty great bunch of people on Thursday – Shawn Colvin, Buddy Miller and Patty Griffin. We call ourselves ‘Three Girls and their Buddy,’ it’s really original. Anyway, a few years ago I was doing some shows with Patty and she sand this song that I loved so much and I didn’t think she’d recorded it because I pretty much knew everything she’s recorded and she saved it for me. It took me quite a few years to get up the nerve to try the song. I recorded it on my last record and I don’t think we’ve actually performed this before, we saved it just for you folks! On this Sunday! Here we go, this is a Patty Griffin song called ‘Moon Song.'”
“Ok, now I’m going to know one that I know a little better (she had flubbed only one line but she seemed like she was struggling to remember the words). This one goes way, way, way back to my days as a brunette – which weren’t very long actually. I still love to do this Louvin Brothers tune.”
If I Could Only Win Your Love
“Mr. Rickie Simpkins there on the mandolin solo and duet vocal. Ok, I’m gonna try this song from a record I did a few years ago called ‘Stumble into Grace’ which I wrote most of the songs.”
“Did anybody catch Mike Farris’ set this morning? What that just… that was amazing. I’m glad I was up bright and early.”
“Thank you. We’ve love coming up here, playing Telluride, it’s something I look forward to every year. Today, of course it’s the Summer Solstice, right? And it’s also Father’s Day, happy Father’s Day for all you fathers out there. I’m going to do a song that I wrote about my father, he passed away in 1993 and he was a solider and a war hero but more than that he was a good father, a good husband, a good son, a good brother, a good neighbor and he’ll always be my hero. I was off being an ‘artist’ so I didn’t learn a lot of the great things I could have learned from him – like how to grow something, how to change the oil in a car. There’s a lot of great things that my father knew how to do. He made a great pot of coffee, you know, Navy coffee, not this stuff that he used to call ‘gnat’s pee.’ And this was before Starbucks. Anyway, this is for my dad.”
Bang the Drum Slowly
“Thank you very much, we’re going to do an old spiritual number for you now.”
There was some discussion around the mike and getting it all plugged in right.
“Can you hear us? Oh, thank you!”
Bright Morning Stars
“I love that song. I’m going to do one more song from, well, it’s not really a new record – it’s been out for a year – I took the opportunity, as I said earlier…
“You know what I need to do before I go any further? You need to know who these very talented gentlemen are up here on the stage. Playing accordion, guitar, vocals, keyboards – Mr. Phil Madeira and that’s not a made-up name. Back here on every possible kind of bass and doing some wonderful vocal work, too, this is Chris Donahue. And doing all those fantastic solos and fiddle and mandolin and wonderful vocals, that’s Rickie Simpkins. The Red Dirt Boys.
“Anyway, I always wanted to record this Billy Joe Shaver song but I thought, ‘I have to get a little bit older!’ And so, at the age of 60, I recorded this song. And that was two years ago so you do the math.”
Old Five and Dimers Like Me
“”Who’s throwing this stuff up here?” She asked, leaning down to pick up a marshmallow that had found it’s way onstage during Todd Snider’s set. “Oh! It’s a marshmallow! Ok, that’s alright. I thought it was one of those ghost turds, you know, packing material. It is a marshmallow, right? Can I roast it? Oh, I’m going to shut up and introduce… please welcome, Sam Bush! Little Sammy Bush, the king of Telluride. We did this song so many times…”
Phil had tossed a marshmallow back out to the audience and she noticed the audience members, who had restarted the marshmallow fight and said, “Now look what you started, Phil! Look what you started, you’ve got them throwing… where’s the fire? Alright, Sam, kick it off here.”
Save the Last Dance For Me
“Save that last marshmallow for me!”
Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight
“Thank you so much, Phil Madeira, Chris Donahue, Rickie Simpkins and of course, Sam Bush. We want you to give us an encore, so we’re just going to stay out here and play it. We love you, Telluride! We tell you, this just bring it back how much we love music… and partying, too. All the important things. This song was originally an instrumental by the father of bluegrass Mr. Bill Monroe, and Marty Stuart and Jerry Sullivan put some words to it.”
Get Up John
Sam picked up a few marshmallows and wound-up baseball style and pitched them before they all left the stage.