Saturday, March 13, 2010

1979: Sorrow in the Wind

Emmylou Harris (with The Whites): Sorrow in the Wind


To be sure, 1979 was a tremendously exciting year in punk and new wave music, as documented here all week so wonderfully by everyone. The overproductions of the 70s invited a backlash that changed the sound of popular music. But, there was other music that year. In country music, there was also a backlash against the same kind of production and commercial influences. The difference was that the backlash in country music never took hold.

This was the neotradtionalist movement. Perhaps it would have been more enduring if someone had found a better name for it. The idea was to go back to simpler, more acoustic-based music. And some of the results were stunning. The Whites had a wonderful album out that year, More Pretty Girls Than One. Unfortunately, that one has become impossible to find. But Emmylou Harris also had an album out that year, and she captured the sound perfectly on Sorrow in the Wind, with The Whites on guest vocals.

The album was Blue Kentucky Girl, and it is notable as well for a reason no one appreciated at the time. 1987 would see the release of Trio, a group consisting of Harris, Linda Ronstadt, and Dolly Parton. That album proved so popular that a sequel was released in 1999. But Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, on Blue Kentucky Girl, was the first song they did together.

I should note that the neotraditionalist movement did not disappear altogether. Ricky Skaggs has kept alive first in his own work, and also more recently with his record label, Skaggs Family Records. The roster of artists includes The Whites.

blog comments powered by Disqus