Emmylou Harris

  • Singer, songwriter and guitarist born in 1947, in Birmingham Alabama. She was raised in North Carolina and Virginia in the Washington D.C. area.
  • She won a college scholarship in drama at University of North Carolina Greensboro, and she began to study music seriously. She learned to play guitar, and she sang the folk songs of Pete Seeger, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. She dropped out of college and moved to New York City, playing in Greenwich Village coffee shops. In 1969, she was signed by an independent label in New York, and she released her debut album, Gliding Bird. The album did not chart, and after a divorce, she moved back to her parents in Maryland.
  • By 1971, Harris was performing again, in a trio with Gerry Mule and Tom Guidera. A member of the band The Flying Burrito Brothers saw her perform, and he recommended her to country artist Gram Parsons. In 1973, Harris joined Parsons’ band, and her vocal harmony with Parsons became popular. She toured and recorded with Parsons until his death in 1973.
  • In 1975, she signed with another record label, and 5 studio albums were released between 1975 and 1979, as well as a Country Christmas album. Her band that supported her was known as The Hot Band. The records did well on the Country charts – 2 peaked at #1, and 2 reached #3. Country hits became the norm – 10 singles landed in the top 10, with Together Again, Sweet Dreams, Two More Bottles of Wine and Beneath Still Waters each hitting #1. Her album Elite Hotel won her first Grammy award in 1976, for Best Country Vocal Performance, Female. Her last album of the 70s, Blue Kentucky Girl, also won a Grammy award in the category.
  • She became known as a cover artist, recording and performing country songs from other artists. During the first half of the 80s, she continued her classic-styled country music, with 8 more top 10 songs. In 1980, she recorded a duet with Roy Orbison – That Lovin’ You Feelin’ Again – it became her third Grammy winner. In 1985, her album The Ballad of Sally Rose was her first record where most of the music was written by Harris.
  • Her most successful album was 1987’s Trio – a collaboration with Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton. It sold over 1 million copies in the U.S., and topped the Country Album chart for 5 weeks. The single To Know Him Is To Love Him reached #1, and Trio won all 3 artists another Grammy award.
  • As country music entered the 90s, Harris’ traditional style of country music was losing popularity. Her 1995 album Wrecking Ball was her attempt to experiment with a new country sound that incorporated rock, alternative and folk music. Critics loved it, putting on their “best album of the year” lists. It won the Grammy award in 1996 for Best Contemporary Folk Recording.
  • During the new millennium, Harris has released 4 more studio albums, and 4 more collaboration albums with artists Rodney Crowell, Mark Knopfler, and again with Parton/Ronstadt. Each has charted highly on the country charts, with the Knopfler piece reaching #17 on the Billboard 200 crossover chart.
  • Her career is illustrious. She has released 26 studio albums, 3 live albums, and 70 singles, 14 of which reached #1. She has won 14 Grammy awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018. She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008. In 2019, the trio of Harris/Parton/Ronstadt will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • Ready for some old school country music, with female harmonies that are fabulous? Watch Emmylou, Dolly and Linda sing The Sweetest Gift.

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