For all the amazing music Emmylou Harris has recorded over her three-decade career, she's had surprisingly few country chart smashes. Rather than put out a conventional greatest-hits collection, Harris has co-produced the Songbird set, a four-CD and DVD guided tour through the interpretive stylist's 78 finest recorded moments, 15 of which are previously unreleased. The well-chosen and carefully annotated set includes overlooked album cuts, session outtakes, tribute album tunes, live recordings and duets with Gram Parsons, George Jones and others, where her harmony skills are put to good use.
The DVD gathers a few live performances from various phases, including an early swing through Buck Owens's Together Again accompanied by Rodney Crowell and James Burton, a revved-up run at I Ain't Living Long Like This with Buddy Miller ripping away on guitar, and a version of Love Hurts with Elvis Costello making his Grand Ole Opry debut. Nice.