Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell finally released the collaborative album fans have eagerly anticipated for decades.
The journey the two shared in the decades before their latest album’s release is a story for the ages. It tells of two friends who took on a life with music without fear or a real plan. They spent their early years traveling across the globe together and with other notable musicians, including Elvis Presley and his band. Crowell says they were “high-rollin’ hillbillies” who had the opportunities to create music with total creative freedom.
“When we met and sang together, it was just as natural as anything,” Harris told Rolling Stone Country. “We used to have fun working up a song – ‘OK, now you take the lead. OK, let’s do it in a different key and you take the lead,’ — and it always sounded great both ways.”
Although Harris and Crowell first met in 1974, they didn’t release an album together until 2013’s highly acclaimed Old Yellow Moon. The album of duets marked a time in both artists’ careers where they had honed both their solo and collaborative talents to a new and undeniable high. They won a Grammy for the album and laid the path for a rekindling of the creative freedom and enthusiasm they developed during their 20s.
This was channeled into the process for their latest effort, The Traveling Kind, which developed much quicker than their last. In total, it only took six days to record the album’s 11 tracks.
“The first record was a conversation about, ‘What do you want to do?’ And we felt it was kind of a covers thing,” Crowell said. “Then with the second, our conversation was about writing songs.”
With two of music’s most well-versed and skilled songwriters working as a team, it’s no surprise that the album is a true work of art. It skillfully wanders across carefully cultivated emotional peaks and valleys. The emotion and forethought weaved in the lines and lyrics of each song can only be crafted by a duo as familiar and connected as Harris and Crowell.
“I find myself feeling really good as a vocalist, singing with Emmy,” Crowell says of their relationship. “That feeling opens the doorways where I hunt and find things that I might probably wouldn’t do on my own. The last two or three years that Emmy and I have been working together have been very beneficial to me as a singer. I feel like a really accomplished singer, and I would presume that the flip side of that is that Emmy may feel good about herself as a songwriter.”
You can catch Harris and Crowell on the road together in support of The Traveling Kind. The full list of tour dates is listed on Emmylou Harris’ website.