Über Emmylou Harris
The otherworldly, yet instantly accessible voice of Emmylou Harris has brought country music to a wide audience. After the untimely death of her partner Gram Parsons, Harris kept the cosmic American music spirit and sound alive in her solo recordings. She was blessed with a warm and nurturing singing voice that seems like it was destined to bring beautiful high-lonesome harmonies to life. Whether she's singing soulfully by herself or harmonizing with others, her elastic and dynamic vocals unfold and soar to astral heights, adding new dimensions and organic depth to whatever song she graces, which goes a long way in explaining her longevity -- and her 13 Grammy wins. Another contributing factor to her success over the years is her ability to spot talent, whether it’s guitarists Rodney Crowell and Ricky Skaggs, or songwriters such as Delbert McClinton and Anna McGarrigle. This was crucial because, especially in her early years, Harris was known more for covering other people's work than penning original material. That changed in the mid-'80s after the release of The Ballad of Sally Rose, which saw the singer cowrite all the songs on the album. And while the album was not one of her most successful commercial efforts, it certainly put the singer on solid footing. But nothing could have prepared her for the unparalleled success of Trio, an album with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt that was 10 years in the making. Trio stayed at the top of the country charts for five weeks, and crossed over into the Top 10 on the pop charts as well. The album was nominated for an all-genre Grammy that year, but lost out to U2's massive Joshua Tree. Ironically, as her music started to have less and less to do with commercial country, which at this time was going through it's Urban Cowboy phase, Emmylou started gaining fans whose musical tastes were more aligned with alternative and folk. In 1995, the singer tapped Daniel Lanois to produce her acclaimed Wrecking Ball, shifting her sound even further away from "new country." Not surprisingly, Harris was tapped for the Lilith Fair in 1997 and 1998, giving her the opportunity to once again expose herself to a new audience -- one that was hungry for music from a woman's point of view. In 2000, she joined Ryan Adams on his Heartbreaker album, and also sang on the award-winning soundtrack to the film, O Brother, Where Art Thou?. In the mid-’00s, still very much a willing collaborator, Harris sang with Conor Oberst on Bright Eyes' , Elvis Costello on the "The Scarlet Tide" for the Cold Mountain soundtrack and Mark Knopfler on All the Roadrunning. In 2013 she reunited with Rodney Crowell for the acclaimed Old Yellow Moon and reprised the collaboration with 2015's The Traveling Kind. Her incandescent inflections have accompanied the likes of Neil Young, Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Beck, Sheryl Crow, The Band, Jackson Browne, Ryan Adams, Nick Cave and Glen Campbell to name a few, and serve to represent the depth and character of her long and varied career.