Emmylou's Early years:
Emmylou Harris was born on April 2, 1947 in Birmingham, Alabama. She grew up in North Carolina and Virginia, and started studying primarily folk music of artists such as Joan Baez and Bob Dylan in college. After leaving college, she moved to New York, and worked as a waitress to support herself while performing folk music in Greenwich Village coffeehouses. She recorded her first album in 1970, Gilding Bird on a label that soon after went bankrupt.
Emmylou and Gram Parsons:
Emmylou was singing in a trio in Washington, D.C., when Chris Hillman of the Flying Burrito Brothers saw her perform and told Gram Parsons about her. Parsons was looking for a female vocalist to work with on his first solo album at the time. Harris joined his band, the Fallen Angels, in 1973. After Parson's death that same year, Emmylou moved back to Washington, D.C. and formed her own band, the Angel Band. Soon after, friend Linda Ronstadt invited Harris out to California, and helped her get work in local venues, and get another record deal with Warner Brothers.
The 1970's and The Hot Band:
Emmylou's first album with Warner Brothers was Pieces of the Sky.
The agreed to record her if she would "get a hot band" to back her. She enlisted two former Elvis bandmembers, plus Emory Gordy Jr. and hot young singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell, among them. The album was released in 1975. It contained the hit "If I Could Only Win Your Love,"
which charted at No. 4. Ricky Skaggs and Vince Gill
also played in Emmylou's band over the years.
Emmylou's Songwriting and Collaborations:
In 1985, Emmylou released The Ballad of Sally Rose
which was semi-autobiographical in theme, and loosly based on her relationship with Gram Parsons. In 1987, she teamed up with Dolly Parton
and Linda Ronstadt to release Trio.
She also recorded a solo album, Angel Band,
featuring gospel music.
The Nash Ramblers:
In 1991, Emmylou dissolved the Hot Band and formed a new acoustic band, called the Nash Ramblers, featuring Sam Bush, Roy Huskey, Jr., Larry Atamanuik, Al Perkins and Jon Randall.
The 1990's and Millennium:
In the 1990's, country music started shifting its focus to a more youth-oriented format, and Emmylou's albums didn't do as well. She released several critically acclaimed works, but nothing that charted very high on the country charts. A Trio II
album was released.
In 2000, Emmylou was part of the soundtrack O Brother, Where Art Thou, and the follow-up Down from the Mountain documentary/concert. In 2005, she collaborated with former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler for All the Roadrunning, which was followed up by a tour together.
Emmylou continues to record and tour. She was featured on A Tribute to Joni Mitchell, and recently lent her voice to Anne Murray's recent album of duets Duets: Friends & Legends.
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