Emmylou Harris: Angel In Disguise
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Harris toured as a member of Parsons's band, the Fallen Angels, in , and the pair shone during vocal harmonies and duets. Later that year, Parsons and Harris worked on a studio album, Grievous Angel. Parsons died in his motel room near what is now Joshua Tree National Park on September 19, , from an accidental overdose of drugs and alcohol.
One more album of recorded material from that period was packaged as Live , but was not released until It also featured "Bluebird Wine", a composition by a young Texas songwriter, Rodney Crowell , who was the first in a long line of songwriters whose talents Harris has championed. Two singles were released: "Too Far Gone", which initially charted at No. Executives of Warner Bros.
Records Reprise Records's parent company told Harris they would agree to record her if she would "get a hot band". Harris did so, enlisting guitarist James Burton and pianist Glen Hardin , both of whom had played with Elvis Presley as well as Parsons. Burton was a renowned guitarist, starting in Ricky Nelson 's band in the s, and Hardin had been a member of the Crickets.
Singer-songwriter Crowell was enlisted as a rhythm guitarist and duet partner. The Hot Band lived up to its name, with most of the members moving on with fresh talent replacing them as they went on to solo careers of their own. Elite Hotel , released in December , established that the buzz created by Pieces of the Sky was well-founded. Unusual for country albums at the time, which largely revolved around a hit single, Harris's albums borrowed their approach from the album-oriented rock market.
Elite Hotel was a No. Harris appealed to those who normally disapproved of the country market's pull toward crossover pop singles "Together Again" and "Sweet Dreams" both topped the country charts. Harris's reputation for guest work continued. Harris also filmed one of the studio sequences, owing to her touring schedule, in the Band 's The Last Waltz , singing "Evangeline". Harris's commercial apex was Luxury Liner , released in , which remains one of her definitive records.
Even so, many fans expected more original tunes, so she became known as a cover artist.
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At the end of , Crowell left the Hot Band to pursue a solo career; his replacement was bluegrass multi-instrumentalist and singer Ricky Skaggs. Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town signaled a slight change of direction from Harris's previous three albums.
Rather than mixing classic and contemporary, the album is made up largely of recently written songs, though from a wide variety of writers. In January , Harris married Brian Ahern. During this period, Harris recorded and released three studio albums that reflected a shift toward traditional country at a time when the public was beginning to embrace a more polished Urban Cowboy sound. Apart from a cover of the Drifters ' " Save the Last Dance for Me ", the album was largely made up of classic-styled country material in the vein of Loretta Lynn and Kitty Wells.
The Christmas album Light of the Stable was released in ; its title track featured backing vocals by Dolly Parton , Linda Ronstadt and Neil Young , all of whom Harris had worked with sporadically since the mids, and with whom she continued to collaborate through the s. The duet's recording was a Top hit on both the Country and Adult Contemporary charts. In , Harris's recordings reached the Top 40 on the Billboard pop chart with a cover of " Mister Sandman "—again Top 10 Country as well as Adult Contemporary—from her Evangeline album. The album version of the song was a track from the Trio sessions with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt , but neither Parton's nor Ronstadt's record companies would allow their artists' vocals to be used on the single, so Harris re-recorded the song, singing all three parts for the single release of the song.
She also released her follow-up album, Cimarron , within the same year. Harris moved to Nashville in Harris's major-label releases thus far included few of her own songs, but in her songwriting skills were prominent with the release of a concept album The Ballad of Sally Rose , for which she co-wrote all of the songs. The album was semi-autobiographical, based loosely on her relationship with Parsons.
Harris described it as a "country opera", and a "huge commercial disaster". Kennerley also produced her next album, Thirteen. They married in and divorced in Emmylou first appeared on A Prairie Home Companion in and has been a fan favourite ever since. In , nearly a full decade after their first attempt, Harris teamed up with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt for a long-promised and long-anticipated Trio disc. The album was the biggest commercial success of Harris's career, spending five weeks at No.
Harris also released a solo album in , Angel Band , featuring traditional gospel songs , on which she worked with then rising country star Vince Gill , and others. In a snippet of studio chatter included on one of the tracks, she talked during the recording session about her beginnings and how music had changed: [ citation needed ]. Years ago I had the experience of sitting around in a living room with a bunch of people and singing and playing, and it was like a spiritual experience, it was wonderful.
And I decided then that was what I was going to do with my life was play music, do music. In the making of records, I think over the years we've all gotten a little too technical, a little too hung up on getting things perfect. We've lost the living room. The living room has gone out of the music, but today I feel like we got it back.
The following year's Brand New Dance album received favorable reviews, but marked the beginning of a chart and airplay decline for Harris. It was her last album with Reprise Records.
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She has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since By the s, Harris started receiving less airplay as mainstream country stations began shifting their focus to the youth-oriented "new country" format. As with Brand New Dance , 's Cowgirl's Prayer —Harris's first studio album after her switch to Elektra Records —was critically praised but received little airplay,  and its lead single, "High Powered Love" charted low, peaking at No.
In , Emmylou Harris was a regular contributor to the original series of the BBC's Transatlantic Sessions ; contributing to each of its seven episodes of collaborative live performances by various leading folk and country musicians, who would play music, mostly from Scotland, Ireland, England and North America. In , Harris released one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the decade, Wrecking Ball , produced by Daniel Lanois , best known for his work with U2 , Peter Gabriel and Bob Dylan.
U2's Larry Mullen, Jr. The album received virtually no country airplay, but it brought Harris to the attention of alternative rock listeners, many of whom had never listened to her music before. Harris then took her Wrecking Ball material on the road, releasing the live Spyboy in , backed with a power trio consisting of Nashville producer, songwriter and guitarist Buddy Miller and two New Orleans musicians, drummer Brady Blade and bassist-vocalist-percussionist Daryl Johnson. In addition to performing songs from Wrecking Ball , the album updated many of Harris's career hits, including "Boulder to Birmingham".
Also in , she appeared prominently on Willie Nelson 's moody, instrumentally sparse Teatro album, produced by Wrecking Ball producer Lanois. During the summer of and , Harris joined Sarah McLachlan 's all-woman musical touring festival, the Lilith Fair , where new artists like Patty Griffin could share new experiences and ideas with seasoned musicians like Harris and Bonnie Raitt.
Emmylou Harris Lyrics
Much of the album had actually been recorded in but remained unreleased for nearly five years because of record label and personnel disputes, conflicting schedules, and career priorities of the three artists. Trio 2 was much more contemporary-sounding than its predecessor and was certified Gold. The two superstars toured together that fall in support of the disc. Both albums made the Top 10 of Billboard's Country Albums chart and also did well on the pop chart.
Also in , Harris paid tribute to her former singing partner Gram Parsons by serving as co-executive producer of Return of the Grievous Angel: A Tribute to Gram Parsons , an album that brought together more than a dozen artists. Harris performed duets with Beck , Sheryl Crow and the Pretenders on this album's tracks. For the first time since The Ballad of Sally Rose , the album contained a number of Harris's own compositions.
Like Wrecking Ball , the album's sound leaned more toward alternative rock than country. Nevertheless, it reached No. Harris also accompanied alternative country singer Ryan Adams on his solo debut, Heartbreaker and sang on Tracy Chapman 's fifth album, Telling Stories.
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Harris and many of the same artists took their show on the road for the Down from the Mountain Tour in In , Harris supplied the finishing touches in harmonizing with the Dixie Chicks on a song they were recording in the studio, "Godspeed". Like its predecessor, it contained mostly self-penned material. They performed singly and together and swapped instruments. On September 9, , Harris participated in " Shelter from the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast ", a series of concerts simulcast by most American television stations to raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita.
She also lent her voice to the soundtrack of the critically acclaimed film, Brokeback Mountain , on the song "A Love That Will Never Grow Old", which was controversially omitted from Oscar consideration because of the insubstantial amount of time the song played during the film. In July, she joined Elvis Costello on several dates of his U. All the Roadrunning , an album of collaborations with former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler , was released in April and supported by a tour of Europe and the United States.
The album was a commercial success, reaching No.