After fifteen years of touring with her beloved Hot Band, Emmylou Harris formed the Nash Ramblers, a new acoustic all-star group, in 1990, featuring Sam Bush (vocals, mandolin, and fiddle), the iconic Roy Huskey Jr. (bass), Larry Atamanuik (drums), Al Perkins (vocals, reso-guitar, and banjo) and a young Jon Randall Stewart (aka Randy Stewart) (vocals, acoustic guitar, and mandolin). The band played on the road for several months before making their Nashville debut at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) on September 28, 1990.
That concert was recorded and shelved, while another concert performance at the Ryman Auditorium the following spring was released as At the Ryman to great acclaim, winning a Grammy and spurring public interest in saving the beloved music hall.
Now, more than thirty years later, Rhino’s James Austin has unearthed the 1990 TPAC recording and Nonesuch Records releases Ramble in Music City: The Lost Concert (Nonesuch 075597917406) for the first time on September 3, 2021.
To back-track a little, in 1989 Harris, exhausted after 15 years fronting The Hot Band, decided that she wanted a break. However, her friend John Starling alerted Harris to another option. At about the same time Sam Bush was on the verge of leaving New Grass Revival. Harris, on learning this, asked Bush if he wanted to join her in starting a bluegrass band. He declined but, indicated that he would be happy to be a member of any group that she set up.
That was the start of The Nash Ramblers, an all-star group of pickers and players, with great depth and diversity.
They played their public debut at the prestigious International Festival of Country Music, Wembley Arena, London, during Easter weekend, Saturday, April 14, 1990, and by the time of the TPAC appearance Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers was a very tight knit unit, instrumentally and vocally.
Recorded by the famous country music producer Allen Reynolds, the pristine sound is as fresh and as vibrant as it was during the evening over 30 years ago.
It set the stage for the better-known At the Ryman performance and the Grammy award-winning album of the same name.
The TPAC set features entirely different songs from the Ryman album and includes music by Rodney Crowell; Ruth Franks; the Louvin Brothers; A.P. Carter; Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman; Paul Simon; and Townes Van Zandt, among others, as well as a couple of Harris’s own compositions.
The record label has released a few tracks one of which is A.P. Carter’s Hello Stranger ….
Roses In The Snow / Even Cowgirls Get The Blues / Beneath Still Waters / If I Could Only Win Your Love / Amarillo / The Other Side Of Life / If I Needed You / Two More Bottles Of Wine / Mystery Train / My Songbird / Wayfaring Stranger / Green Pastures / Blue Kentucky Girl / Hello Stranger / Remington Ride / One Of These Days / The Boxer / Born To Run / The Price I Pay / Sweet Dreams / Save The Last Dance For Me / Leaving Louisiana In The Broad Daylight / Boulder to Birmingham
The recordings are available on CD and high-performance vinyl (2LPs) formats and to download.