On the heels of her successful anti-landmine benefit in Los Angeles this past
month, country-folk singer Emmylou Harris has reached out and recruited
several of her peers in folk and country music to advance the crusade with
a fall show.
Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle and Buddy and Julie Miller
have already signed on for the Oct. 9 concert, which will be held in
D.C. More artists are to be confirmed.
"Emmylou's been involved with it for quite a few years, and she asked me if
I would help her there in Washington," country legend Nelson said Tuesday
"I think it's a good cause. We should be the first ones to sign off on this
The show, which will be held at the District's Constitution Hall, will
benefit the Campaign for a Landmine-Free World, a program of the Vietnam
Veterans of America Foundation that is dedicated to the defusing of the
estimated 100 million deadly and destructive landmines worldwide. The
VVAF is also co-founder and coordinator of the International Campaign to
Ban Landmines, which received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.
VVAF President Bobby Muller said having such artists as Harris, Nelson and
Williams involved in the campaign is vital to advancing the cause, adding
that Princess Diana Spencer's efforts prior to her death Aug. 31, 1997, had a
tremendous impact on raising awareness and helping rid the world of the
"The role of personalities in connecting the public to issues --
particularly ones of war that seem so far away -- is critical," Muller said
Tuesday (Sept. 22). "We had the very good fortune of having Emmylou Harris
connect with our organization based on some reading she did about the
landmines, and Emmylou Harris has become our angel."
Muller said the biggest gain of the concert will be boosting public
awareness in the political hotbed of Washington, D.C. The concert is
scheduled just before Congress' winter recess, and several congressional
representatives and members of the presidential administration have been
Harris' sold-out show in Los Angeles on Aug. 27 raised several thousand
dollars for two landmine-diffusion organizations, the VVAF's Campaign for a
Landmine-Free World and Peace Trees Vietnam. Proceeds from the upcoming show
will support a comprehensive program that is providing rehabilitation
services, helping the international effort to remove mines from the ground
and raising public awareness.
Having traveled to Cambodia and Vietnam last year, Harris has seen
firsthand the devastation caused by the explosion of landmines. "It's one
thing for people to agree that landmines are bad and that we shouldn't put
any more in the ground, and it's another thing to find out exactly where
they are and get them out of the ground," she said. "Every 22 minutes,
someone is killed or crippled by a landmine."
Dubbed "solo songbird of the country," the 51-year-old Harris recently
released a live album called Spyboy, which is dominated by a fresh,
acoustic sound and features excerpts from her entire career.
Fans might expect the Washington, D.C., benefit show to have a family feel, as
most of the night's performers are close friends of Harris' as well as
frequent collaborators. Having covered Earle's "Guitar Town" for her 1992
album, At the Ryman, Harris also collaborated with him on her
Grammy-winning 1996 album, Wrecking Ball.
Additionally, Harris expressed enthusiasm over Williams' latest album, the
critically acclaimed Car Wheels On A Gravel Road. "It absolutely
blew me away,"
Harris said of Car Wheels. "It's a masterpiece. She's
extraordinary. She's raised the standard of music for everyone."
Several other major artists also have lent their support to the landmine
including Boyz II Men, Jackson Browne, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Bruce
Cockburn, Harry Connick Jr., Sheryl Crow, Jewel, Sinead O'Connor and Bruce
"It's so important with any [cause] that certain people who have real
respect and are considered to be people of particular integrity and
leadership -- people like Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams and Steve Earle
-- are involved," VVAF's Muller said. "These are extraordinary people, and
when they identify with a cause, a lot of other people respond because it's
been 'credentialed,' if you wish, by having these leaders step forward."
Tickets for the Oct. 9 concert are available for $22.50 and $33.50 at all
Ticketmaster outlets, or by phone at 202-432-SEAT.