Introduction to Emmylou Harris

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The peerless country lass Emmy Lou Harris in a summary…

She has achieved numerous country chart-topping hits and countless awards including 12 Grammys. Harris was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1947. She became acquainted with music during her college days, where she began to study the field and learned to play songs of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Pete Seeger.

She became acquainted with music during her college days, where she began to study the field and learned to play songs of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Pete Seeger.

If you are a fan of Emmy Lou Harris, you might want to follow more information and story of her successful and award-winning musical career.

Harris was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1947. She began to seriously pursue music while in college, where she was strongly influenced by Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Pete Seeger. It was music that Harris wanted to pursue, so she eventually left college and moved to New York.

In 1969, Harris released her debut album Gliding Bird, which was strongly influenced by the musical styles of Baez and Joni Mitchell. It also features covers of Dylan, Hank Williams, and a folky rendition of the Bacharach-David hit, “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again”. Gliding Bird‘s title track was written by her first husband, fellow songwriter, Tom Slocum. Although it was considered an obscure folk album, Harris’ eclectic musical style was beginning to emerge and develop a strong following.

One of the turning points of Emmylou Harris’ career was when Gram Parsons introduced her to the world of country music. Parsons helped establish her within the country music business by performing duets with her during his concerts. Parson’s untimely death in 1973 left Harris devastated and inspired her to write “Boulder to Birmingham”. It was released as one of the tracks of her 1975 album, Pieces of the Sky. Aside from “Boulder to Birmingham”, the album also included covers from the Beatles, Dolly Parton, and Merle Haggard. Although Harris’ eclectic style was a bit unusual for Nashville’s standards, the album peaked at #7 on the Billboard country music charts in 1975.

At the request of Harris’ label, Warner Bros. Records, she assembled a group of extraordinarily talented musicians to form The Hot Band. This included guitarist James Burton (who had worked with Elvis Presley) and pianist Glen Hardin. Elite Hotel rose to become Harris’ first #1 country album, while her cover of the Beatles’ “Here, There and Everywhere” managed to climb the Hot 100 charts and peaked at #65. She also earned a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.

EmmyLou Harris’ next recordings were also well received. Her album, Luxury Liner, topped the country charts while it came out very strong on the Billboard 200 album charts at #21. Her 1978 release of Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town peaked at #3 on the country album charts, while it reached #29 on the overall album charts.

In 1979, Harris’ album, Blue Kentucky Girl, featured a more traditional country vibe. It went to #3 on the country album charts, and #43 on the Billboard 200 chart. The album also helped her win another Grammy for Best Country Female Vocal Performance.

Evangeline, her 1981 LP, produced the single “Mr. Sandman”, a cover of the Chordettes original. “Mr. Sandman” peaked at #10 on the country charts, and entered into the Top 40 charts at #37.

During the beginning of Harris’ career, most of her albums featured cover songs and only a few of her original songs. This changed with Harris’ 1985 release of The Ballad Of Sally Rose. It was her first album that featured her own work as well as titles written by her husband, English singer-songwriter and musician, Paul Kennerly. Although Harris considered this album to be a commercial disaster, The Ballad Of Sally Rose topped the Top 10 country albums chart at #5.

In 1987, Harris and her longtime friends, Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt, finally found time to produce the album, Trio. The album was well received by both critics and fans, selling 4 million records and earning two Grammies.

During the start of the new millenia Harris released four studio albums: Red Dirt Girl, Stumble Into Grace, Trio II, and All I Intended To Be. Red Dirt Girl featured all of Harris’ own songs and was more rock than country. It made #5 on the country album charts and peaked at #54 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Trio II saw Harris reunited with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt, earning them another Grammy in 2000. Harris’ musical collaborations also involved artists such as, Bryan Adams and Bright Eyes’, Conor Oberst, a well as veteran musicians, Mark Knopfler (of Dire Straits) and Costello.

Harris’ recent work continues to garner commercial success. Her 25th studio album, All I Intended To Be, was released in 2008 and opened at #22 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and peaked at #4 on the country album charts. Her most recent album, Hard Bargain, was produced in 2011 and became her most successful album. It debuted at #18 on the Billboard 200 and #3 on the country album charts.

Since the beginning of her career, Harris has released 26 studio albums, three live albums, 11 compilation albums, 70 singles, and a handful of collaborations with other artists. With these and her 12 Grammy awards under her belt, it is no question that Harris has become one of the most prolific and revered country artists this generation has ever seen.

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