Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
Emmylou Harris & Rodney CrowellAntone's, March 14
It seems beside the point to argue with Emmylou Harris about song selection. After all, 40 years gone and her voice lays claim to a large chunk of the great American songbook. Her partner on stage, Rodney Crowell, a Texas-by-way-of-Nashville vet who's written a few humdingers of his own, could have said something, but probably not. Still, with so many great Townes Van Zandt songs floating around, yet another cover of "Pancho and Lefty" – in front of a knowing alt.country audience, no less – seemed superfluous. Which isn't to say that the touted collaboration between the Red Dirt Girl and the Houston Kid didn't live up to expectations; the showcase leapt out of the gate with a pair of Gram Parsons-penned favorites, "Grievous Angel" and "Wheels," which don't appear on the pair's Old Yellow Moon. Eventually, they slid over to the steamy side with "Dreaming My Dreams," made famous by Waylon Jennings and found on the new disc. Live, these cuts improved, taking on earthier tones, rough moments giving warmth to lesser recordings. With the band raising hell on Crowell's "Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight," it appeared these old friends are also still capable of some fresh moves.