Emmylou Harris explored the arty side of the street on her previous three studio albums: 1995's indelible Wrecking Ball, helmed by studio auteur Daniel Lanois, plus 2000's Red Dirt Girl and 2003's Stumble Into Grace, made with Lanois protegé Malcolm Burn. In contrast, All I Intended to Be, her forthcoming release, features a less studied sound, and no wonder. It was produced by Brian Ahern, whose clean, accessible approach marked her first eleven solo platters. Not that the recording qualifies as a throwback to the days when Harris and her aptly named Hot Band scorched stages. Gentle tracks like "How Could She Sing the Wildwood Flower," co-written with Kate and Anna McGarrigle, focus on simplicity, purity and Harris's shiver-inducing voice, which remains as crystalline as when she harmonized with the late Gram Parsons lo these many years ago. Harris, joined at Red Rocks by John Prine, hasn't left her art behind. She's just put it in a vintage frame.
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