Not only is Wrecking Ball a milestone in the career of Emmylou Harris, it is also a jewel in the crown of producer Daniel Lanois who himself has released masterpieces like Acadie and For the Beauty of Wynona, and has written two of these timeless songs.
This is of those albums you return to again and again. People of many musical tastes including rock, country, folk, pop and easy listening will all find something to enjoy. I love Daniel Lanois' production which lends a haunting, wistful quality to Emmylou's voice and infuses the sound with atmospherics.
The great songs are written by talents like Anna McGarrigle, Steve Earle, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams, Jimi Hendrix and producer Daniel Lanois. My favourites include Going Back To Harlan, Bob Dylan's devotional masterpiece Every Grain of Sand (Emmylou has fiddled with some lyrics here but it doesn't matter at all).
Goodbye is a most poetic & melancholy 1960s reminiscence, Lucinda Williams' Sweet Old World is stirringly interpreted and Orphan Girl is real wailing country. The last two tracks are truly outstanding: Blackhawk and the highly sensual Waltz Across Texas Tonight are both sweeping ballads with gripping imagery and magical melodies.
Emmylou followed up this album with two more masterpieces that resembled it in sound and style: Red Dirt Girl and Stumble Into Grace. I highly recommend both; they're as inspiring and spellbinding as Wrecking Ball.