Emmylou Harris Making Hay While The Sun Shines

Singer's warm-weather plans include recording, touring, hosting songwriter showcase and more.

When nine-time folk and country Grammy Award–winner Emmylou Harris hosts friends Dave Matthews, Buddy and Julie Miller, Patty Griffin and Kimmie Rhodes for a songwriter special on "Austin City Limits" airing May 6, it's just the start of an eventful summer for the singer.

In a recent conversation about the semi-retirement of her longtime friend Linda Ronstadt, with whom she recently completed a tour in celebration of their duet collaboration Western Wall (1999), on Asylum, Harris said her own retirement probably wouldn't come until she collapsed backstage somewhere.

In the meantime, she'll be gracing the stage of Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium on May 24 with T-Bone Burnett, Gillian Welch, Ralph Stanley and others in an evening of Depression-era music taken from the Burnett-produced soundtrack to the Coen brothers' upcoming film "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" starring George Clooney, John Goodman and Holly Hunter, which is set for fall release.

The Ryman performances will be filmed by D.A. Pennebaker, best-known for his 1966 Bob Dylan documentary, "Don't Look Back." The concert will benefit programs of the Country Music Foundation.

Between preparing for her summer concerts, Harris has been laying down tracks for her next solo album. The label and release date are undetermined, but the quality of the songs isn't.

"It's incredible. There's just some really amazing, great stuff on there," said Julie Miller, whom Harris invited to add harmonies to several of the songs.

Harris also is the subject of a new collection from Australia's Raven Records called Emmylou Harris 'Singing With.' The album features duets Harris has recorded throughout the years, such as her version of "Love Hurts" with Gram Parsons, and other cuts with the likes of Waylon Jennings, Guy Clark, Rosanne Cash, Willie Nelson, Vince Gill, Trisha Yearwood, George Jones and Kathy Mattea.

And upcoming in the U.S. are two long-out-of-print discs, Cimarron and Last Date, which will finally be issued on CD. Both are due May 9 from Nashville's Eminent Records.

New liner notes, packaging featuring original photos and bonus tracks enhance the reissues, which are important enough without the additions: Last Date was Harris' first live album, and the 1982 release (originally on Warner Bros.) had the #1 hit "(Lost His Love) on Our Last Date" as well as the energy-packed top-five country charting Hank Snow cover "I'm Movin' On."

The 1981 disc Cimarron features two of Harris' most enduringly popular cuts, a duet with Don Williams on "If I Needed You" and the heartbreaker "Another Lonesome Morning."

Emmylou Harris tour dates:

May 20–21; Alexandria, Va.; The Birchmere

June 6; Nashville, Tenn.; Second Harvest Annual Benefit at Belle Meade Mansion

June 10; Sedona, Ariz.; Sedona Cultural Park

June 11; San Diego, Calif.; Humphrey's Concerts by the Bay

June 13; West Hollywood, Calif.; House of Blues

June 14; Anaheim, Calif.; The Sun Theater

June 16; Saratoga, Calif.; Garden Theater

June 18; Indianapolis, Ind.; Indy Jazz Festival, American Music Stage

June 22; Columbia, Md.; Festival of the Arts, Rouse Theater

Aug. 20; Estes Park, Colo.; Rocky Mountain Folk Festival

Aug. 26; South Queensferry, near Edinburgh, Scotland; "Summer Nights in the Country," Hopetoun House (with Little Feat, Steve Earle and the Dukes)