Byline: ANDY KELLY
"WHAT a wonderful theatre," says 11-time Grammy winner Emmylou Harris as she takes to the stage at the Empire.
"In America we'd have knocked it down and built a Wal-Mart but some of us are a bit more like you people"
Thank God no-one told her about the Cavern.
Country music was once such a dirty word they had to invent a new genre - alt country - and something called Americana, though I've never really worked out what that means.
For the past 30 years and more, Emmylou Harris has, of course, defied any attempt to place her into such simple boxes.
Country? Yes. But folk, blue grass and gospel too. And they're all here in a quite wondrous 100 minutes from a singer/songwriter who is at the top of her craft.
Backed by a simple three-piece band featuring Pam Rose on guitars, Mary-Ann Kennedy on mandolin and percussion and David Jakes on double bass, this was very much a case of less is more.
Simple arrangements gave some great songs room to breathe and left space for that unmistakable southern-tinged voice to send the veritable shivers down the spine. Some great harmonising between the three female performers only added to the effect.
Harris's long dark locks of the 70s have long since given way to a dyed mane of white hair, but even at 59, she still has the power to enchant. "The girl of my dreams" was one colleague's verdict. …