Music Quick Picks

ELLN May Music Quick Pick

Each month, I highlight an album as part of the ACC’s Employment and Labor Law Network’s outreach and engagement, and just to give you something non-legal related to enjoy every month.  I hope you join us on our Forums and at today’s monthly teleconference where Jackson Lewis Principal Michelle Phillips will present a Legal Quick hit entitled Respect in the Workplace where she will review gender identity terminology, ways to prevent sexual stereotyping and implications of federal and local gender discrimination laws – including the recent Bostock v. Clayton County decision in addition to the Equality Act’s impact on the workplace. If you’re an in-house counsel and not part of the ACC or the ELLN, you can join ACC and ELLN today and see what we’re all about!  I hope to (virtually) see you soon.

ELLN May Music Quick Pick

Former ELLN Chair Doug Hass has long been a music buff (he founded country music site Roughstock.com in 1993) and had plenty of windshield time for work over the years. That’s given him lots of time to indulge and explore his music interests! To help entertain you on your commutes or at the gym, office, home, or on the go, Doug is offering another year-long series of picks that will showcase some of the best albums you may have never heard, or that deserve another listen. We hope that each monthly choice piques your interest in these albums and artists. These may be titles that you have never heard of, but our hope is that your interest will be piqued and your musical world enriched!

Emmylou Harris – The Ballad of Sally Rose (1985)
  Amazon Music – Apple Music – Spotify — Pandora

The very first ELLN Music Quick Pick was a concept album by Marty Stuart, a masterpiece of musicianship and departure from the “usual” Stuart album in many ways.  I want to return to the “country opera” well a second time this month with Emmylou Harris’ The Ballad of Sally Rose.  Recently, I have been revisiting The Flying Burrito Brothers and later Gram Parsons albums (a topic we might revisit in coming months), and Parsons’ collaborations with Emmylou Harris still stand out.  Rather than take the well-trodden path through the Byrds and the Burritos, this month’s pick lets you hear about the young Harris’ close friendship with Parsons from her point of view.

The Ballad of Sally Rose tells the semi-autobiographical tale of Sally Rose (an alias that Harris used in real life at the time).  Rose is a young singer that a high-profile artist takes under his wing.  Rose, like Harris, becomes a star in her own right after the protagonist dies in a highway accident (“Bad News”). The fictional Rose does do a few things that I am pretty sure Harris never did, like buying a radio station (“K-S-O-S”), but the rest of the album walks through many actual details of Harris’s time with Parsons.  The original album was nominated for a Grammy, but this part memoir/part tribute sadly never enjoyed much commercial success.  Standout songs include “Sweet Chariot” and my favorite, “Sweetheart of the Rodeo.”  The real joy here is that Harris wrote or co-wrote every song on the album, a rarity for Harris albums.  On top of that, her lyrics and melodies get enhanced by the amazing cast of musician friends who lent backing vocals, including Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, and Vince Gill.  For Harris fans who got reintroduced to her through her later album Red Dirt Girl, consider this album its opening act.

The version that I have linked to here is the 2017 remastered and expanded version.  In addition to updating the original’s sound, Harris added a second album of 10 previously unreleased, mostly acoustic demos, all worth hearing as much as the original 13 songs.  The whole listen will take you just over an hour, and I think you’ll find it well worth your time.

Enjoy!

Can’t get enough? Further Listening:

If you have not heard Red Dirt Girl, the second album in Harris’s discography where she wrote or co-wrote all the music, here’s your chance! To go back to the early 70s and a younger Harris and the immensely influential Gram Parsons, I’ll leave you with Parsons’ posthumous Grievous Angel, where you will hear a bit of the classic Bakersfield Sound we’ve covered in past Music Quick Picks, along with music that influenced the Stones, the Eagles, and Harris herself, among many others.

Emmylou Harris, Red Dirt Girl (2000) (via Amazon Music)
Gram Parsons, Grievous Angel (1974) (via Spotify)

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