Red Dirt Girl

Album: Red Dirt Girl (2000)
  • This is the title track album of Red Dirt Girl. The album marked a significant departure for Harris, as eleven of the twelve tracks were written or co-written by her. She had previously been best known for covering other songwriters' work.
  • Emmylou Harris explained the background to this song on her website: "I am very, very inspired by the sound of words, and the names of places are so melodic and beautiful," she said. "I was passing through Meridian on my way down to record in New Orleans and that's what started it."

    "But what really took it over the edge for me was on a night off in New Orleans we went to see Boys Don't Cry," Emmylou continued. "It unnerved me, not only because of the violence and homophobia, but also because of the underlying theme of how trapped those young people were. We all come into this world with so much potential and so many dreams. Who knows why some people escape and other people don't? The key idea is in the lyric, 'There won't be any mentions on The News of the World.'"
  • Emmylou told the story of the song to American Songwriter magazine: "I had driven to New Orleans with my dog Bonaparte and I passed the sign for Meridian, and I started making rhymes in my head. So I had this rhyme scheme but I didn't know what it was about. You get crushes on words and then the rhymes come. Anyways, right after I got there, I went to see the movie Boys Don't Cry. This story about the lost lives of these young people with nowhere to go and it turns into such negative things …"

    "I've had this incredibly blessed life, but I created this character who'd had all of these hopes … and I just made this story up inspired by my remembrances of the south. I also imposed the lives of these kids from Boys Don't Cry. Who knows where these songs come from? It's such a mystery to me. Sometimes, I think, 'God, I really wrote that?'"
  • Red Dirt Girl won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 2001.

Comments: 2

  • Jj from AtlantaI love this album. Daniel Lanois was the perfect match for her. So hard hitting, and heart-felt.
    My favorite will always be Sally Rose, but few have had a run like our Emmylou!
  • Bill from UsSo many beautiful albums, and then she came out with this one, she wrote! read the lyrics to this song, it doesn't even need music, and yet with the melody, amazing! It's like an updated Harper Lee novel condensed into a poem! She (Emmylou) left Alabama long ago, but really never did!
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