Emmylou Harris @ Red Butte Garden 09.30 w/ Marisa Anderson and William Tyler
A crisp, cool autumn evening rounded out a successful post-Covid Red Butte Garden season. For the finale performance of the summer, renowned singer-songwriter Emmylou Harris and supporting acoustic act Marisa Anderson & William Tyler were welcomed to the stage.
Folk artists Anderson and Tyler took a break from their respective solo careers to collaborate together on their August 2021 release, Lost Futures. The critically acclaimed album features a cinematic Western aesthetic and impressive guitar stylings. “Y’all could have had nicer weather,” the duo jokes as they play tracks such as Haunted By Water. Anderson and Tyler set the tone for a pleasant and peaceful night of music with gentle, bluegrass fingerpicking in their short, instrumental set.
Opening with her 2003 track “Here I Am,” 74-year-old Emmylou Harris looks classically chic in an all-black ensemble. Her prolific country career, which has spanned more than fifty years, is lovingly represented in her performance—from her 1975 hit “One Of These Days” (her mother’s favorite) to the more contemporary “Michaelangelo.” Through cover tracks such as Nanci Griffith’s “Gulf Coast Highway” and Merle Haggard’s “Kern River,” friends and fellow artists from throughout Harris’ musical life are given a nod. As much as she effortlessly glides back and forth through decades, Harris takes care to remind the audience: “This is exactly where I want to be.”
After a stirring, a cappella version of “Calling My Children Home,” Harris transitions to “relatively happy songs,” such as “Rose of Cimmaron,” and her final track of the night, “Save The Last Dance for Me.” Audience members who stuck around for a few extra moments were treated to an encore of “Together Again,” which served as a bittersweet reminder of the global pandemic’s impact on music over the past two years.
Despite the chilly air, Emmylou Harris delivered a warm conclusion to the concert series. –Kia McGinnis Wray