The year was 1990, and after more than a decade with the celebrated Hot Band, Emmylou Harris hit the road with a group of bluegrass all-stars — Sam Bush, Roy Huskey Jr., Larry Atamanuik, Al Perkins, and Jon Randall Stewart — and called them the Nash Ramblers. Although the group represents only a small portion of Harris’s decorated career, the music they made was exciting and powerful. After the band’s first year together, they recorded At the Ryman, a 1992 project that not only won a Grammy but also helped bring about a second life for the Ryman Auditorium as a premier concert venue.
It was in the band’s earliest days, at the conclusion of their first tour in 1990, that the Nash Ramblers made their Nashville debut. The performance was recorded at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center on September 28, 1990, and until now, has never been released to the public. In September, Nonesuch Records issued it after its discovery by Rhino Records’ James Austin. The live album, titled Ramble in Music City: The Lost Concert features a slew of songs that were not performed on At the Ryman.
Harris says, “When James Austin, in my humble opinion, the world’s best and certainly most devoted music archeologist, unearthed the tapes of this ‘lost’ concert, I was taken aback by their very existence, like finding some cherished photograph misplaced so long ago the captured moment had been forgotten. Then the memories came flooding in, of the Nash Ramblers, hot off the road from our first tour, ready to rock and bringing their usual A-game to the hometown turf.”
She continues, “It only took one listen to realize not a single note was out of place or in need of repair, a truly extraordinary performance by these gifted musicians. What a joy it was to share the stage with them.”
In promotion of the album release, Austin City Limits shared its own video of the ensemble performing “Roses in the Snow” on the celebrated Texas stage in 1993. (The title track from Harris’ 1980 beloved bluegrass album leads the live record, too.) Enjoy this vintage video from Emmylou Harris & the Nash Ramblers and their timeless musicianship.
Photo credit: Paul Natkin/Getty Images, circa 1997