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Mumford and Sons join country star
Veteran country music star Emmylou Harris is teaming up with London folk band Mumford & Sons to explore their shared love of high harmony, sad songs and the oft-belittled banjo on a US TV show.
Harris, 65, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, and platinum-selling Mumford & Sons, who have sparked a folk rock resurgence, are joining together on an episode of CMT Crossroads on Thursday night.
The show brings together classic and contemporary artists to play new versions of their best-known hits.
"They're making the banjo respectable, which is not an easy feat, and I'm so glad it's finally happening," Harris joked.
Nashville, Tennessee-based Harris had only briefly met lead singer Marcus Mumford before agreeing to do the show based on the waves they created in the music world.
They co-ordinated song choices by phone and got together to rehearse for a little more than a day before recording the show earlier this month.
"They're great harmony (singers) and they've got this great driving groove with a minimalist instrumentation," Harris said.
"But they just sound good and the songs have beautiful melodies and I love harmonising on them."
Harris was among the gateway artists who helped Mumford and bandmates Ben Lovett, Ted Dwane and Winston Marshall discover their love for American roots music, starting with the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack.
"Pretty much every song that Emmylou has sung on is my favourite song of whichever artist she sang with," Mumford said. "I'm like an obsessive Emmylou Harris freak and I'm not ashamed."