Sweetest harmonies of the first day of the 2016 Stagecoach Festival in Indio, California?
We’re going to have to bestow that to the magnificent songstress Emmylou Harris and her bandmates, Pam Rose (guitar, vocals) and Mary Anne Kennedy (vocals, percussion, mandolin). Their voices blended magnificently in an early evening set on the Palomino stage, providing the perfect balm for a weary sunburnt crowd.
The set was highlighted by lovely songs such as “Sorrow in the Wind,” “Michelangelo,” “In My Dreams” and “The Boxer,” but also by her storytelling between the songs.
By sharing that she had such a good childhood, she had to “make sad shit up,” or that she wrote a song for her kids because even when they are grown, “you still worry,” it somehow made the jam-packed tent seem more like an intimate living room performance.
Early on, Harris recollected her 1985 concept The Ballad of Sally Rose, using the story as a way to thank her fans for the mega support.
“That album almost bankrupted me but I’m still here folks – because of you,” she stated. “You don’t care if we are on the radio or not. You are still gonna come see us.”
Harris’ contributions to folk and Americana music are legendary, but she spent a good portion of her set signing the praises of others. Like when she introduced a cover of “Spanish Dancer” by Patty Sciala off album Rumble Doll. Harris noted that perhaps Sciala is somewhat overshadowed by husband Bruce Springsteen, but that she’s actually an incredible songwriter who deserves more recognition.
Or when she left the stage and invited Kennedy and Rose, who also comprise country duo Kennedy Rose, to take over and perform their own track “Love Like This.”
“This song was alt when alt wasn’t cool,” said Rose.
Although hampered by a few technical difficulties, Harris and team powered on like the road stalwarts they are, providing a perfect wind-down to the first day of Stagecoach festivities.