Emmylou Harris, godmother of the Americana movement, is a phenomenon for any number of reasons, one of which is that she has has managed to conduct more than four decades of her remarkable career without a single misstep. While Harris has always been committed to honoring the roots of old-school, traditional country, she also expanded the music beyond its conservative lyrics and narrow melodic structures without abandoning its core themes of enduring love, family, and prideful sense of place. Throughout, she interpreted and wrote songs of integrity and emotional depth and resonance, surrounding her keening soprano with a Who's Who of players and collaborators, including Rodney Crowell, the McGarrigle Sisters, Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Daniel Lanois, and Mark Knopfler. This unusual 4-CD compilation isn't a greatest-hits package, but rather a gathering of Harris's personal favorites, most of which have never appeared on other collections. Some of the most compelling tracks are special collaborations ("Jordan," with Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash), previously unreleased live, studio, and demo tracks (the folky "Falling in a Deep Hole," circa 1970), and contributions to tribute projects (Townes Van Zandt's chilling "Snake Song"). Harris's reedy voice is one of the most empathetic instruments in all of popular music, and perhaps no other female performer of the genre has been able to capture the desperate, paralyzing sense of longing and loneliness as well as this greatly revered singer. That may be a red flag of warning for the Prozac generation, but this deeply satisfying set stands as a benchmark of 40 years of artistry, as well as an uncommonly soulful illumination of the human condition. --Alanna Nash
Career-Spanning Rarities & Favourites From The Legendary12X GRAMMYr Winning Artist, Who Personally Selected Every Track! Features Previously Unreleased Material, Duets With A Host Of Stars, Live Cuts, Demos, Videos, And More!