• Record Label: Nonesuch
  • Release Date: Jun 10, 2008

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. All I Intended to Be, the country legend's first album in five years features terrific, hushed versions of Patty Griffin's ''Moon Song,'' Tracy Chapman's ''All That You Have Is Your Soul,'' and Billy Joe Shaver's ''Old Five and Dimers Like Me.'' But Harris can also turn it on in the songwriting department, as she proves in ''Gold.''
  2. The surfaces of this album may seem less bold than the albums that immediately preceded it, but All I Intended to Be is the work of a consummate artist who is still reaching out to new places even when she points to her creative history.
  3. On her new album, Harris has meticulously written and chosen a group of folk and country songs that support the nuances of that voice perfectly.
  4. From her choices of collaborators and material to her extraordinary singing, Intended proves that Harris's greatest gift is her dead-on instincts.
  5. The material seems to have been chosen for its precision of image and ease of melody, and perhaps for some inherent ruminative languor.
  6. 80
    Harris is as proud, painful, and plaintive as ever here, dripping with life and dealing in dire certainties. But she never gets heavy about it, and in places sounds lighter than air.
  7. Harris' take on Tracy Chapman's 'All That You Have Is Your Soul' is definitive, and 'Beyond the Great Divide' provides a sublime closing to an album that was well worth the wait.
  8. Now, 35 years on, her voice is as resonant, lachrymose and strong as ever.
  9. 80
    She draws in appropriate songs by Merle Haggard, Patty Griffin and Jack Wesley Routh, but excels them all with her own 'Not Enough.' [July 2008, p.104]
  10. Restrained, graceful and poised, the lady remains country music's finest ambassador. [July 2008, p.103]
  11. Turns out she gets the balance just right on All I Intended.
  12. Minor misgivings aside, All I Intended To Be is another assured latter-day Emmylou Harris long-player.
  13. As a whole All I Intended to Be seems like a docile album. But Harris ingeniously utilizes the affability of each song’s structure with grace and respect, employing her crystalline voice to buff its rough components into a jewel.
  14. The gauzy country-folk production, full of keening pedal steel and swooning close harmonies, congeals into roots-music kitsch--the soundtrack to a slow pan across a sepia-toned photograph in a Ken Burns documentary.
  15. It suffers from its uniformly dark tone and funereal tempos, and Ahearn’s attempts to sweeten things with an overly polished mix only makes a sad situation worse.

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