Emmlyou Harris's Hard Bargain was released April 26, 2011, on Nonesuch Records. The album follows Harris’s acclaimed 2008 release, All I Intended to Be, which received widespread acclaim—Newsweek called it an album that “shows that Harris is still the stalwart songbird at the top of the roost.” Hard Bargain, which comprises 11 new songs by Harris as well as two covers, was produced by Jay Joyce (Cage the Elephant, Patty Griffin). A deluxe edition of the album includes a DVD featuring six performances interspersed with interviews.
The documentary focuses on three couples living on benefits. They include Karen and Paul who once ran a launderette, but after losing their business they now struggle to get by on benefits. Yvonne and David are getting married and planning to make it the best day ever - despite only being paid in a year the same amount as the cost of the average UK wedding. Things are even more bleak for Brian and Rachel, however, as despite being together for 10 years, they cannot afford to move in together.
Black Sabbath have been so influential in the development of heavy metal rock music as to be a defining force in the style. The group took the blues-rock sound of late-'60s acts like Cream, Blue Cheer, and Vanilla Fudge to its logical conclusion, slowing the tempo, accentuating the bass, and emphasizing screaming guitar solos and howled vocals full of lyrics expressing mental anguish and macabre fantasies. If their predecessors clearly came out of an electrified blues tradition, Black Sabbath took that tradition in a new direction, and in so doing helped give birth to a musical style that continued to attract millions of fans decades later.
…Perhaps that is the secret of Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s enduring appeal: they sing music that falls completely outside of contemporary style and fashion, that unlike the songs of many other African acts is almost completely devoid of overt political content, yet is so pure and uplifting that it speaks for itself and points the way to a better, safer, healthier and more integrated world where all forms of expression are possible. What more could you want from an album than that?