Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris

Western Wall: The Tucson Sessions – 1999 (Asylum)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

CDs by Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris

Joined with Dolly Parton as the Grammy-award-winning "Trio," Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt recorded country and bluegrass music with sweet high harmonies. Now, on their first full-length album as a duo, Harris and Ronstadt recorded fabulous folk-rock renditions of 13 songs by many great songwriters. Harris sings David Olney's "1917," a cinema-quality story told by a prostitute who services shell-shocked World War I soldiers.

Ronstadt performs Jackson Browne's aching "For a Dancer," a much more skillfully written version of Garth Brooks' "If Tomorrow Never Comes." Harris wrote and sings "Raise the Dead," an intelligent country-rock song that kindles the spirits of Hank Williams and Bill Monroe. The album closes with Bruce Springsteen's "Across the Border," a gorgeously evocative story of two lovers who plan to move to Mexico in search of a better life. Throughout the album, Harris and Ronstadt trade off sparkling lead vocals and harmonies, and producer Glyn Johns and his multi-instrumentalist son Ethan provide creative musical backing. Seemingly effortlessly, Harris and Ronstadt have recorded an album that should surpass even the high expectations of their longtime fans.