Few singers have had a career as long and important as that of Emmylou Harris. She has sung with the other vocalists one would suspect a country and western singer would have sung with; singers such as Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton. But she has also sung with newer singers, bridging musical gaps we never would have suspected her of leaping across; a recent appearance on Bright Eyes’ CD I’m Wide-Awake, It’s Morning. She also recently appeared on a tribute album to Joni Mitchell and covered the song “The Magdalene Laundries.”

In fact, it was her masterful treatment of Joni Mitchell which caused me to be interested in her. I had never been a fan at all of country music and still hold that belief very much so. But when I got the chance to review her new boxed set coming out, Songbird, a 4 disc collection of rare and unheard tracks and video footage as well, I jumped at it.

But then I got the huge UPS box my CD was to come in. I opened it up and found nothing other than a broken case holding a radio sampler of songs from Songbird. It was . . . disappointing, to say the least.

So I got over the disappointment and popped my Songbird sampler in as I made my way to work and was wholly transfixed. Emmylou Harris’ vocal talents remain superbly unmatched, not only in the field of country music, but in music as a whole right now. Anyone who claims to enjoy music should own this box set. It’s great music, amazing and will transport all who listen to it to a world of beauty and leave them with the hope that that world can meet their own.

This CD is available at Amazon.com.

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