Something Else! sneak peek: The Seldom Scene with Emmylou Harris, “Hickory Wind” (2014)

Emmylou Harris returns to a Gram Parsons song she first took on for 1979′s Grammy-winning Blue Kentucky Girl, only this time alongside the Seldom Scene as the DC-area bluegrass group makes its Smithsonian Folkways debut.

Then, as now, Harris adds another shade of homesick melancholy to “Hickory Wind,” which Parsons initially recorded with the Byrds then reinterpreted again on his signature 1974 album Grievous Angel. The difference on this advance track from the Seldom Scene’s forthcoming Long Time … Seldom Scene, is the setting, which has none of the country-rock atmospherics so often associated with Harris and Parsons over the years.

No, the Seldom Scene — whose initial reputation grew out of a series of local residencies while its members kept their day jobs — plays this song with a close attention to front-porch traditions, taking it further back than Harris or Parsons first dared. Of course, the theme here always lent itself to that kind of oaken, deep-than-the-holler nostalgia, as consecutive verses lament ego gratification, a focus on material things rather than higher goals, and our increasingly urban lifestyles.

Lou Reid, with the Seldom Scene off and on since 1986, takes a turn on the mic before Harris joins in — and their voices intertwine like vines around your heart. He’s joined by founding banjoist Ben Eldridge, who offers a plucky solo turn as he leads a lineup that’s seen a period of lengthy stability. Since its early-1970s founding, however, the Seldom Scene has lost original members John Duffey and Mike Auldridge, and this new album is dedicated to both.

Elsewhere, Long Time … Seldom Scene, due on April 22, 2014 from Smithsonian Folkways, finds Eldridge reuniting with fellow original members Tom Gray and John Starling, along with several other special guests in addition to Harris. This new album is the Seldom Scene’s first recording since 2007′s Grammy-nominated Scenechronized.

[amazon_enhanced asin="B00IP3E4XS" container="" container_class="" price="All" background_color="FFFFFF" link_color="000000" text_color="0000FF" /] [amazon_enhanced asin="B0000C0FHP" container="" container_class="" price="All" background_color="FFFFFF" link_color="000000" text_color="0000FF" /] [amazon_enhanced asin="B00000023A" container="" container_class="" price="All" background_color="FFFFFF" link_color="000000" text_color="0000FF" /] [amazon_enhanced asin="B001TXVP8I" container="" container_class="" price="All" background_color="FFFFFF" link_color="000000" text_color="0000FF" /] [amazon_enhanced asin="B0012FCIMA" container="" container_class="" price="All" background_color="FFFFFF" link_color="000000" text_color="0000FF" /] 

Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.