Trio II sales spur production of video

By Richard Lawson

Sales of the latest record from Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris have been so strong that they've decided to do a music video to further boost the numbers.

Ronstadt, Parton and Harris will shoot a video on March 25 for "After The Gold Rush," a song originally performed by folk rocker Neil Young. It's the fourth track on their Trio II album, released by Asylum Records on Feb. 9.

"The video could increase sales a lot," says Evelyn Shriver, president of Asylum Records. "It kind of reminds people there is an album out there."

Currently, songs from the album aren't getting much airplay on country radio, a vital avenue for promoting a record.

Asylum Records has had to use alternative promotional tools to heighten the awareness of the record. One avenue is a music video playing on such cable video networks as Country Music Television and Great American Country.

But the buzz around the album and strong sales have caused country radio to perk up. "They seem to really want to be a part of this," Shriver says.

In response, Asylum Records soon will simultaneously release "After The Gold Rush," "Feels Like Home" and "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind" to country radio.

Since its release, the album has sold more than 100,000 records in the United States. The label released it internationally during the week beginning March 15 and sales have topped 60,000 the U.S., Shriver says.

Trio II is No. 7 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart and has been as high as No. 4.

Strong sales have even sparked higher sales for Trio, the first album Ronstadt, Parton and Harris released. It was released in 1987 on Warner Bros., a sister Time Warner company with Asylum Records.

"Some of the people buying the album now weren't consumers then," says Neal Spielberg, vice president of sales for Warner Bros. in Nashville.

In 1987, Trio sold nearly two million records. Two weeks prior to the release of Trio II, Trio sales averaged about 150 per week, according to Spielberg. Sales the week after the release topped 1,400.

Last year, 7,500 Trio records were sold. "This year we're already at 6,200," Spielberg says. "That's found money."

Warner Bros. had anticipated the released Trio II and made sure retailers who had stopped carrying the first album got it again and those who still carried it had plenty of inventory.

The setting for the video will be an old Synagogue in New York City's Greenwich Village.

"Supposedly it's going to have a surreal, renaissance sort of feel to the video," Shriver says. "We are going to call Young to if he'll do a cameo."

Young first recorded "After The Gold Rush" in 1970 when he released his same-titled album. It's the second track on that record.

The Ronstadt, Parton and Harris video will have a Nashville connection beyond the record label. Jim Shea, partner in Hollywood video production firm Planet Inc. (he works out the Nashville office) wrote and will direct the video.

Shea has had a long relationship with Ronstadt. He won a Grammy in 1978 for his photography work on Ronstadt's 1977 album Simple Dreams. The album won the Grammy for its packaging.

"There's a real comfort zone there," Shriver says.

Shooting of the video will be squeezed in between an Ronstadt, Parton and Harris appearance on "Late Show with David Letterman" on March 24 and "Live! With Regis & Kathie Lee" on March 25 or 26.

March 22, 1999