Son of a gun

Emmylou Harris broke up the Hot Band that, in one form or another, had backed her between 1975 and 1989. Among the stars that emerged from the Hot Band were Ricky Skaggs and Rodney Crowell. By 1991 Emmylou had convened the Nash Ramblers to back her in a bluegrassy lineup that featured Sam Bush on mandolin and fiddle, Al Perkins on dobro, Jon Randall on lead guitar, the late Roy Huskey, Jr. on bass and Larry Atamanuik on drums. Emmylou showed off her new lineup over three nights in the spring of 1991 at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, the home of the Grand Ole Opry until 1974. Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass, attended and took the stage to buck dance with Emmylou during each of the shows. The three shows were subsequently distilled into an excellent live recording.

The Nash Ramblers proved to be a relatively short-lived lineup, but those shows at the Ryman must have been something. In the video above that I think derives from one of the Ryman shows, Emmylou closes with an encore of Hank Williams’s “Jambalaya,” a good-time classic that has been performed by artists ranging from Jerry Lee Lewis and Fats Domino to John Fogerty and Karen Carpenter. For “Jambalaya” the Nash Ramblers lineup is augmented by Kieran Kane on mandolin, Joey Miskulin on accordion and Mark Winchester on the second bass. (Winchester is also identified occasionally as a former member of the Ramblers and is not identified by Emmylou as a guest, but he is not listed as a member on the live recording that resulted from the Ryman shows.) If you are inclined to give the video a look, don’t quit before you see Winchester and Huskey trading bass solos and Sam Bush taking the last solo on fiddle while riding Winchester’s bass. It’s a rousing sendoff that will prompt a smile.


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