Hard Bargain, the new album from musical icon Emmylou Harris, will be released April 26 on Nonesuch Records. The album follows Harris’ acclaimed 2008 release, All I Intended to Be, which received widespread acclaim—Newsweek called it an album that “shows that Harris is still the stalwart songbird at the top of the roost.” Hard Bargain, which comprises 11 new songs by Harris as well as two covers, was produced by Jay Joyce (Cage the Elephant, Patty Griffin). A deluxe edition of the album, which includes a DVD featuring six performances interspersed with interviews, will also be available.
In celebration of the release, Harris will embark on a series of special performances including a showcase at the 2011 SXSW Music and Media Conference on Thursday, March 17 at the Americana Music night. More details will be announced shortly.
“We did the whole record in about a month, which is quite unusual for me. But I had all the material beforehand. I’d written 11 of the 13 songs and I really wanted to include two more by other writers,” Harris explains. “One of the covers is Ron Sexsmith’s ‘Hard Bargain’ which I absolutely love. The other is by Jay Joyce, called ‘Cross Yourself.’
“We did the whole thing with just three musicians, me being one of them. Jay, the producer, and Giles Reeves play everything between them. It’s not a stripped down record though; there’s only one song that’s a little bare bones. I’m basically a slow ballad-y person, but Jay managed to really move the songs up a bit. But they still have the same emotional feel.”
Two of the album’s songs look back at relationships that were central to Harris’ creative life. She wrote “Darlin’ Kate” for her close friend and collaborator Kate McGarrigle, who died last year of a rare form of cancer, while “The Road” casts its eye further back to the formative time Harris spent with country/rock icon Gram Parsons at the beginning of her career.
A 12-time Grammy winner and Billboard Century Award recipient, Emmylou Harris’ contribution as a singer and songwriter spans 40 years. She has recorded more than 25 albums and has lent her talents to countless fellow artists’ recordings. In recognition of her remarkable career, Harris was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008.