Wrecking Ball (Emmylou Harris album)

Wrecking Ball is the eighteenth studio album by American country artist Emmylou Harris, released on September 26, 1995 through Elektra Records. Moving away from her traditional acoustic sound, Harris collaborated with producer Daniel Lanois (best known for his production work with U2) and engineer Mark Howard.[11] The album has been noted for atmospheric feel, and featured guest performances by Steve Earle, Larry Mullen, Jr., Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Lucinda Williams and Neil Young, who wrote the title song.

Wrecking Ball
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 26, 1995
RecordedNew Orleans, 1995
GenreCountry rock, folk rock, alternative country, country folk
ProducerDaniel Lanois
Emmylou Harris chronology
Cowgirl's Prayer
Wrecking Ball
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[1]
Chicago Tribune3.5/4 stars[2]
Christgau's Consumer GuideB[3]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[4]
The Guardian4/5 stars[5]
The Irish Times5/5 stars[6]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[7]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[8]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide5/5 stars[9]


Though her choice of songs had always been eclectic, the album was regarded as a departure. Harris, at the age of 48, had become something of an elder stateswoman in country music. The album received nearly universal acclaim, making many critics' year-end "best of" lists, and pointed Harris' career in a somewhat different direction where she would incorporate a harder edge. As a career-redefining album, Wrecking Ball was compared to Marianne Faithfull's 1979 Broken English album and Johnny Cash's American Recordings. Wrecking Ball won the 1996 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Recording.


Harris covered Neil Young's song "Wrecking Ball", and the track includes harmonies by Young.[12] Although the song was released by Harris as a 2-track CD single with Lucinda Williams' "Sweet Old World", reviewers did not consider the title track the high point on the album.[13]

Track listingEdit

1."Where Will I Be?" (with Daniel Lanois)Daniel Lanois4:15
2."Goodbye"Steve Earle4:53
3."All My Tears"Julie Miller3:42
4."Wrecking Ball"Neil Young4:49
5."Goin' Back to Harlan"Anna McGarrigle4:51
6."Deeper Well"David Olney, Lanois4:19
7."Every Grain of Sand"Bob Dylan3:56
8."Sweet Old World"Lucinda Williams5:06
9."May This Be Love" (with Daniel Lanois)Jimi Hendrix4:45
10."Orphan Girl"Gillian Welch3:15
11."Blackhawk"Daniel Lanois4:28
12."Waltz Across Texas Tonight"Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris4:46
Total length:53:05


Additional personnelEdit



Year Chart Position
1995 Billboard 200 94
1995 UK Albums Chart 46


  1. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Wrecking Ball – Emmylou Harris". AllMusic. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  2. ^ Dretzka, Gary (November 2, 1995). "Emmylou Harris: Wrecking Ball (Elektra)". Chicago Tribune.
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert (2000). "Emmylou Harris: Wrecking Ball". Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s. St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0-312-24560-2. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  4. ^ Nash, Alanna (September 29, 1995). "Wrecking Ball". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  5. ^ Sweeting, Adam (September 29, 1995). "Emmylou Harris: Wrecking Ball (Grapevine)". The Guardian.
  6. ^ Breen, Joe (April 11, 2014). "Emmylou Harris: Wrecking Ball". The Irish Times. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  7. ^ Cromelin, Richard (September 24, 1995). "Emmylou Harris 'Wrecking Ball' Elektra/Asylum". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  8. ^ Richardson, Susan (November 16, 1995). "Emmylou Harris: Wrecking Ball". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on August 1, 2009. Retrieved August 5, 2009.
  9. ^ Coleman, Mark; Kemp, Mark (2004). "Emmylou Harris". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 365–67. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  10. ^ Mueller, Andrew (April 24, 2014). "Emmylou Harris – Wrecking Ball". Uncut. Archived from the original on August 3, 2018. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  11. ^ Hurst, Jack (November 7, 1995). "Harris' Saving Grace May Be Her Difference". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 12, 2011.
  12. ^ The Journal of Country Music 1996 Volume 18 - Page 11 "One can hear that same sort of ache, an almost primordial loneliness, running through the whole of Wrecking Ball, her Grammy-winning current album. Having drawn on the catalogs of Earle, Neil Young, Lucinda Williams, Bob Dylan, and ..."
  13. ^ CD Review Volume 12, Issues 1-9 - Page 13 1995 "Wrecking Ball peaks not with the Neil Young-penned title cut (with its author singing harmony), but in the one-two punch of Lucinda Williams' "Sweet Old World" followed by Jimi Hendrix's "May This Be Love.".