A wrong date was given in the Limelight column in yesterday's Show section for the Birchmere's Delia Bell, Bill Grant and Johnson Mountain Boys' concert. The performance is to be held Wednesday.
In a way, Delia Bell helped Emmylou Harris find her voice in bluegrass, so it's fitting that Harris returned the favor recently by producing and providing harmonies on Bell's debut album for Warner Bros.
Bell, a Texan who has spent all but two years of her life in Hugo, Okla., said, "I had recorded an album in 1978 and Emmylou ran across it in California. She didn't know me, but she bought it on impulse, said it sounded like a good country name. She took it home and liked it so well she started playing it for anybody who'd listen to it, telling everybody she wanted to record with me."
The recording didn't happen right away, but Harris, a certified country star, did take two Bell songs for her breakthrough bluegrass album; she even named the album after a tune that had been especially written for Bell, "Roses in the Snow." "The time was right," said Bell. "It was changing back to old-time country, and that's what I am." Bell and Harris eventually met while both were on tour in England in 1980 and last year they finally connected in a studio. Harris produced the album. "We were both real nervous," said Bell, "but it seemed like we all had a good time."
The Warner Bros. album is country with a fairly strong bluegrass flavor to it. "My 'Coyote' song, which is probably more bluegrass than anything on there, just went on the charts this week," Bell said proudly. She has an unusual deal with Warner Bros.; she signed for seven country records but continues to record bluegrass with her longtime partner, mandolinist Bill Grant.
Grant and Bell will be at the Birchmere on Thursday, along with local favorites the Johnson Mountain Boys.