Though they began working together nearly 40 years ago, Old Yellow Moon is the first equal billing project between Harris and Crowell; while it’s a rich and warm meeting of old friends, another celebrated country figure looms large. This is a vibrant and alluring collection of old school honky-tonk tearjerkers and saloon bar shuffles that can’t help but bring to mind Emmylou’s early 70s recordings with the late Gram Parsons.
Crowell was an integral part of Harris’ post-Parsons Hot Band, and it’s plain to hear that a long-standing chemistry exists between the singers. Their voices weave together beautifully on the opening Hanging Up My Heart (one of two Hank DeVito numbers featured) and the heavenly heartache of Roger Miller’s Invitation To The Blues.
It’s a gloriously democratic divvying-up of lead roles, with Crowell’s rockabilly croon to the fore on the self-penned Bluebird Wine, first recorded way back when with Emmylou out front, and Harris oozing sweet regret on Back When We Were Beautiful.
Unashamedly traditional it may be, but there will be few better country records released this year.