My Favorite Records:Emmylou Harris – At the Ryman

This is the another installment in my series of favorite records.

I’ve loved Emmylou Harris since the first time I heard her 1977 masterpiece Luxury Liner. And there are any number of her records that are worthy of my Top 50 list. But there’s one of them that’s just a notch above the rest.

That record is her 1992 live album, is At the Ryman.

I remember going to the Ryman to see the Grand Ole Opry when I was a kid, and I sure wish I’d been at the Ryman when Emmylou made this live tour de force. She joined up with the Nash Ramblers, one of the best backing bands in the history of recorded sound, led by Sam Bush and Roy Huskey Jr., and simply made one of the best live records ever. One of the best. Ever

From the opening chords of Steve Earle’s Guitar Town until the last chord of Smoke Along the Track, there’s not a song on this record that I’d rate less than a 9.5 on a 10 scale. The two best songs are covers of Bill Monroe’s Walls of Time and Get Up John (I can’t listen to a second of either one without feeling that beautiful tug of spiritual emotion). I expect Sam Bush’s fingers were in shreds at the end of Walls of Time. What a beautiful song.

This is a great album.

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