Rocky Schenck
Ken Tucker
April 13, 2011 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Hard Bargain

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Emmylou Harris
music label
81217
genre
Folk

We gave it an B+

Her voice revealing cracks as fine as her white hair, Harris actually sounds better — more open and passionate — on Hard Bargain than she has since starting her career. Speaking of which, her salute to mentor Gram Parsons, ”The Road,” is lovely nostalgia, and there’s a rare flash of fun cornball humor on ”Big Black Dog.” Her grief over the 2010 death of friend/musician Kate McGarrigle (”Darlin’ Kate”) is palpable. Some of the story-songs are drippy, but that voice remains dry. B+

Download These:
Rocking New Orleans at Last.fm
Poignant Darlin’ Kate at Last.fm

See all of this week’s reviews

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