Emmylou Harris Recruits Stars For Anti-Landmine Benefit

Country-folk singer attracts the likes of Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams and Steve Earle for Oct. 9 show.

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

Washington,

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

(Sept. 22).

"I think it's a good cause. We should be the first ones to sign off on this

landmine thing."

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

destructive devices.

"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

invited.

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

campaign,

including Boyz II Men, Jackson Browne, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Bruce

Cockburn, Harry Connick Jr., Sheryl Crow, Jewel, Sinead O'Connor and Bruce

Springsteen.

"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.