Harris,Emmylou - Songbird: Rare Tracks & Forgotten Gems [Import]
Songbird: Rare Tracks & Forgotten Gems [Import]
Notes / Reviews

Songbird: Rare Tracks & Forgotten Gems is the name of a 2007 box set of songs personally selected by Emmylou Harris: "I've selected not greatest hits, but personal favorites: that, with a few exceptions-have never appeared on any other compilations, but were important gems in the string of pearls that each album strives to become. Also included are special collaborations, unreleased live and demo tracks, as well as contributions to tribute projects, which I may now gather into this fold.” ;retrieved on 2007-09-18

Discs one and two serve as a retrospective of Emmylou's solo career, including at least one song from each of Emmylou's previous studio and live albums (and two cuts from her time with Gram Parsons). Discs three and four consist of collaborations with other performers, tribute album tracks, and unreleased material. Overall, 13 of the 78 tracks were previously unreleased. The DVD collects 9 videos filmed between 1975 and 2005, plus a public service announcement for Animal Rescue.


The 5 disc set (4 CDs & 1 DVD) are packaged in a multifold cardboard sleeve bound to mimic a photographic album. A 200 page liner notes and biography booklet, liberally graced with photos from throughout Emmylou's career, is also bound to mimic a photographic album. Both faux miniature photographic albums are housed in a CD sized cardboard slipcase.

* previously unreleased material marked with * following song title

Disc One

Disc Two

Disc Three

Disc Four


#"Together Again" – with The Hot Band, featuring James Burton (1975)

#"Making Believe" – with The Hot Band, featuring Albert Lee (1977)

#"Blue Kentucky Girl" – from PBS' "Soundstage" (1978)

#"Satan's Jewel Crown" – from PBS' "Soundstage" (1978)

#"Mr. Sandman" – Promotional video (1981)

#"I Don't Have To Crawl" – Promotional video (1981)

#"I Ain't Living Long Like This" – with Spyboy (1998)

#"Love Hurts" – at the Grand Ole Opry, with Elvis Costello (2005)

#"Imagine" – from CMT's "Crossroads (200?)

#"PSA: Emmylou Harris On Animal Rescue"


*Emmylou Harris – acoustic guitar, vocals, harmony vocals, 6-string bass, baritone electric guitar

*Gram Parsons - vocals on 1-2; guitar on 1-3; background vocals on 1-3

*James Burton - lead electric guitar on 1-2; electric guitar on 1-6, 1-8, 1-9, 1-10, 4-8; gut-string guitar on 1-4; dobro on 1-4; rhythm guitar on 3-3

*Bernie Leadon - guitar on 1-2; synthesized acoustic guitar bass on 3-2; banjo on 4-7

*Herb Pedersen - guitar on 1-2; acoustic guitar on 1-5; background vocals on 1-5, 1-8

*Al Perkins - pedal steel on 1-2; banjo on 2-8; harmony vocals on 2-8; dobro on 2-9, 4-2, 4-3, 4-12, 4-13

*Byron Berline - mandoline on 1-2, 1-5; fiddle on 1-4, 1-6

*Glen D. Hardin - piano on 1-2, 1-6, 1-9, 4-5, 4-8, 4-9; electric piano on 1-4, 1-8, 1-10, 1-16; keyboards on 2-18

*Emory Gordy, Jr. - bass on 1-2, 1-6, 1-8, 1-9, 1-10, 1-14, 1-15, 1-16, 1-17, 1-19, 2-1, 3-3, 4-8, 4-9; background vocals on 1-6; Ernie Ball bass on 1-18, 2-5; vocals on 2-4; acoustic bass on 4-6, 4-7; double bass on 4-6

*Jock Bartley - electric guitar on 1-3

*Neil Flanz - pedal steel on 1-3

*Kyle Tullis - bass on 1-3

*N.D. Smart III - drums on 1-3

*Rick Cunha - acoustic guitar on 1-4

*Ray Pohlman - bass on 1-4

*Ron Tutt - drums on 1-4

*Ben Keith - pedal steel on 1-4

*Brian Ahern - high-strung guitar on 1-4; bass on 1-5, 1-7, 1-12, 1-21, finger-style acoustic guitar on 1-8; acoustic guitar on 1-9, 1-10, 1-19, 2-18; percussion on 1-10, 1-13; archtop guitar on 1-14, 1-15, 1-17; Adamas guitar on 1-15; gut-string guitar on 1-18; six-string bass on 1-18; tambourine on 1-18; Ernie Ball bass on 1-19; banjo on 2-18; Earthwood bass on 2-18; electric baritone guitar on 3-3; guitar on 4-8, 4-9

*Fayssoux Starling - background vocals on 1-4, 1-5, 1-7, 1-8; duet vocal on 1-10

*Amos Garrett - electric guitar on 1-5; lead guitar on 1-16

*Bill Payne - piano on 1-5, 1-21, 3-20; electric piano on 1-17; synthesizer on 1-21; organ on 3-3

*Nick DeCaro - string arrangement on 1-5, 4-6; accordion on 4-6; strings on 4-7

*Hank DeVito - pedal steel on 1-6, 1-8, 1-9, 1-10, 1-13, 1-18, 1-19, 2-1; steel guitar on 4-8, 4-9

*Rodney Crowell - rhythm guitar on 1-6; background vocals on 1-6; acoustic guitar on 1-8, 1-16, 1-19; guitar on 4-8, 4-9

*John Ware - drums on 1-6, 1-8, 1-9, 1-10, 1-13, 1-19, 1-20, 4-8, 4-9; percussion on 1-17, 1-18

*Mike Auldridge - dobro on 1-7; pedal steel on 3-21

*John Starling - acoustic guitar on 1-7, 4-13, 4-17; background vocals on 1-7; vocals on 4-2, 4-3; harmony vocals on 4-13

*Albert Lee - mandolin on 1-9, 1-14, 1-19, 3-5; electric guitar on 1-17, 2-1; backing vocals on 4-6; acoustic guitar on 4-7; guitar on 4-9

*Ricky Skaggs - viola on 1-10; fiddle on 1-10, 1-12, 1-15, 1-19; mandolin on 1-13, 1-14, 1-15, 1-17, 1-18, 2-18; harmony vocals on 1-14, 1-15, 1-19; lead vocals on 1-15; acoustic guitar on 1-15, 1-18

*Mickey Raphael - harmonica on 1-8, 1-11, 1-16, 1-18, 4-9

*Willie Nelson - duet vocal on 1-11

*Sharon White - harmony vocals on 1-12, 1-17, 1-19; background vocals on 1-13

*Cheryl White - harmony vocals on 1-12, 1-17, 1-19; background vocals on 1-13

*Lincoln Davis Jr - accordion on 1-13

*Tony Brown - piano on 1-13; electric piano on 1-19

*Mike Bowden - bass on 1-13, 1-20, 2-2

*Johnny Cash - harmony vocals on 1-14

*Tony Rice - harmony vocals on 1-14; acoustic guitar on 1-14; lead acoustic guitar on 1-17; guitar on 3-21

*Mac Rebbenack - piano on 1-16

*Lynn Langham - synthesizer on 1-16

*Hal Blaine - drums on 1-16

*Jerry Douglas - dobro on 1-17, 3-6

*Waylon Jennings - harmony vocals on 1-18

*Frank Reckard - lead guitar on 1-18, 1-20; mandolin on 2-2

*Don Johnson - keyboards on 1-20; harmony vocals on 1-20

*Barry Tashian - rhythm guitar on 1-20; duet vocals on 1-20

*Steve Fishell - pedal steel on 1-20, 4-1, 2-6; dobro on 2-2

*Wayne Goodwin - mandolin on 1-20; tenor sax on 1-20

*Jim Horn - recorder on 1-21

*Shane Keister - keyboards on 2-1, 2-2, 2-3

*Russ Kunkel - drums on 2-1

*Buddy Spicher - fiddle on 2-1

*Dolly Parton - background vocals on 2-1; vocals on 2-3, 3-4, 3-5, 4-17

*Linda Ronstadt - background vocals on 2-1; harmony vocals on 3-2, 3-10; vocals on 2-3, 3-4, 3-5, 4-17

*Carl Jackson - acoustic guitar on 2-2, 4-17; vocals on 2-4; baritone vocals on 2-5; lead acoustic guitar on 2-5, 4-2, 4-3, 4-13; harmony vocals on 4-2; duet vocal on 4-3, 4-13

*Steve Turner - drums on 2-2, 4-3; percussion on 2-2

*Mark O'Connor - fiddle on 2-2, 3-11, 3-15; viola on 2-3, 3-5; acoustic lead guitar on 3-5; mandola on 3-6

*Mary Ann Kennedy - harmony vocals on 2-2; vocal on 4-5; mandolin on 4-5

*Pam Rose - harmony vocals on 2-2; vocal on 4-5; acoustic guitar on 4-5

*Vince Gill - vocals on 2-4; tenor vocals on 2-5; mandolin on 2-5

*Richard Bennett - 6-string bass on 2-6; acoustic guitar on 2-7, 4-10, 4-12; mandocello on 2-10; electric guitar on 4-4, 4-11; guitars on 4-16

*Carl Marsh - synthesizer on 2-6

*David Pomeroy - bass on 2-6, 4-5, 4-15

*Billy Thomas - percussion on 2-6

*Chris Leuzinger - acoustic guitar on 2-7; electric guitar on 4-10; acoustic slide guitar on 4-11

*Bob Wray - bass on 2-7; 4-10

*Milton Sledge - drums on 2-7, 4-10; percussion on 2-7

*Kenny Malone - field drum on 2-7; drums on 3-7; percussion on 3-7

*Bobby Wood - keyboards on 2-7

*Liam O'Flynn - uilleann pipes & whistle on 2-7, 3-11

*Davy Spillane - uilleann pipes & whistle on 2-7, 3-11

*Mary Black - harmony vocals on 2-7; vocals on 3-11

*Iris Dement - harmony vocals on 2-7; vocals on 4-15

*Delores Keane - harmony vocals on 2-7; vocals on 3-11

*Jon Randall Stewart - harmony vocals on 2-8, 2-9, 4-10, 4-11; mandolin on 2-9; acoustic guitar on 4-12

*Sam Bush - mandolin on 2-8, 4-3, 4-2, 4-10, 4-11, 4-12, 4-13, 4-15; harmony vocals on 2-8, 2-9; fiddle on 2-9, 4-3, 4-13

*Roy Husky, Jr. - upright bass on 2-8, 2-9, 3-6; bass on 3-11, 4-3, 4-12; acoustic bass on 4-17

*Larry Atamanuik - drums on 2-8, 2-9, 4-12; harmony vocals on 2-8

*Cathy Chiavola - harmony vocals on 2-10

*David Hoffner - keyboards on 2-10; Wurlitzer electric piano on 4-12

*Joe Loesch - special effects on 2-10

*Daniel Lanois - mandolin on 2-11, 2-12; electric guitar on 2-11, 2-12; bass on 2-11; duet vocal on 2-11; acoustic guitar on 2-12; electric orchestra on 2-17; backing vocals on 2-17; guitar on 3-12; basspedals on 3-12

*Daryl Johnson - high harmony vocal on 2-11; tom tom on 2-11; vocals on 2-13; djembe on 2-13; bass guitar on 2-13, 2-15, 2-19, 4-1; bass pedals on 2-13; percussion on 2-13, 2-15, 4-1; harmony vocals on 2-15; organ on 3-12

*Brian Blade - drums on 2-11

*Steve Earle - finger picking acoustic guitar on 2-12; vocal on 3-9; guitar on 3-9; bass on 3-9; mandolin on 3-9; banjo on 3-9; harmonica on 3-9; harmonium on 3-9; Mini-Moog on 3-9; organ on 3-9

*Malcolm Burn - piano on 2-12, 2-15, 2-16; synth bass on 2-15; electric guitar on 2-15, 2-16; bass on 2-16; percussion on 2-16; drums on 2-16; Hammond B-2 organ on 2-17, 2-19; backing vocals on 2-17; Fender Rhodes on 2-19

*Tony Hall - shaker on 2-12; bass on 2-12, 2-17, 2-19

*Larry Mullin, Jr. - hand drum on 2-12; drum kit on 2-12

*Julie Miller - harmony vocals on 2-13; backing vocals on 2-19

*Brady Blade - vocals on 2-13; drums on 2-13, 2-19; percussion on 2-13, 2-17

*Buddy Miller - vocals on 2-13; lead electric guitar on 2-13; 12-string guitar on 2-13; mando guitar on 2-13; acoustic guitar on 2-19; electric guitar on 2-19, 4-1

*Ethan Johns - elbow on 2-15, 2-16; acoustic guitar on 2-16; drums on 2-19; Spanish guitar on 3-2; marksaphone on 3-2; percussion on 3-19; baritone guitar on 3-19; guitar on 4-14

*Kate McGarrigle - piano on 2-16; harmony vocals on 2-16, 2-18, 3-10; acoustic guitar on 2-18; banjo on 2-18, 3-10; backing vocals on 2-19, 3-2; vocal on 3-8

*Kevin Salem - electric guitar on 2-17

*Jane Siberry - backing vocals on 2-17

*Anna McGarrigle - keyboards on 2-18; accordion on 2-18, 3-10; harmony vocals on 2-18, 3-10; backing vocals on 3-2; vocal on 3-8

*Greg Leisz - acoustic guitar on 3-2; pedal steel on 3-18

*Wix - accordion on 3-2

*Dave Lewis - drums on 3-3

*Mark Casstevens - acoustic guitar on 3-4

*David Grisman - mandolin on 3-4, 4-17

*Alison Krauss - viola on 3-4, fiddle on 4-17

*Edgar Meyer - bowed bass on 3-4

*David Lindley - autoharp on 3-5

*Kenny Edwards - Ferrington acoustic bass on 3-5

*Jimmy Ibbotson - harmony vocals on 3-6

*Jeff Hanna - guitar on 3-6; harmony vocals on 3-6

*Bob Carpenter - accordion on 3-6; harmony vocals on 3-6

*Randy Scruggs - guitar on 3-6; acoustic guitar on 4-15; autoharp on 4-15; 5-string dobro on 4-15

*Jimmy Fadden - drums on 3-6

*Guy Clark - vocals on 3-7; guitar on 3-7

*Verlon Thompson - guitar on 3-7

*Marty Stuart - mandolin on 3-7

*Travis Clark - bass on 3-7

*Michele Pepin - vocal on 3-8; bass on 3-8, 3-10; electric guitar on 3-10; dobro on 3-10

*Eric "Roscoe" Ambel - guitar on 3-9; vocals on 3-9

*Kelley Looney - bass on 3-9

*Will Rigby - drums on 3-9; percussion on 3-9

*Ken Coomer - drums on 3-9

*Patrick Earle - percussion on 3-9

*John McColgan - drums on 3-10; percussion on 3-10

*Sylvain Clavet - percussion on 3-10

*Pat Crowley - accordion on 3-11

*Aaron Embry - piano on 3-12

*Victor Indrizzo - drums on 3-12

*David Rawlings - acoustic guitar on 3-13; harmony vocals on 3-13

*Gillian Welch - bass on 3-13; harmony vocals on 3-13

*Joey Miskulin - accordion on 3-13

*Patty Mitchell - harmony vocal on 3-16

*Kenny Vaughn - electric guitar on 3-16

*Pat Bergeson - tremolo guitar on 3-16; harmonica on 3-16

*Scott Neubert - acoustic guitar on 3-16

*Johnny Cox - pedal steel on 3-16

*Chris Nole - piano on 3-16

*Rob Price - bass on 3-16

*Bob Mummert - drums on 3-16

*Paul Kennerley - synthesizer on 3-17; electric guitar on 3-17; backing vocals on 4-6

*Sheryl Crow - vocals on 3-18; acoustic guitar on 3-18

*Jeff Trott - electric guitar on 3-18

*Tim Smith - bass on 3-18; baritone guitar on 3-18

*Greg Williams - drums on 3-18

*Chrissie Hynde - vocals on 3-19

*Adam Seymour - guitar on 3-19

*Andy Hobson - bass on 3-19

*Martin Chambers - drums on 3-19

*Benmont Tench - organ on 3-19

*Beck Hansen - vocal on 3-20; acoustic guitar on 3-20

*Smokey Hormel - guitar on 3-20

*Jay Dee Maness - pedal steel on 3-20

*Justin Meldal-Johnsen - bass on 3-20

*Joey Waronker - drums on 3-20

*Gabe Witcher - fiddle on 3-20

*Jonathan Edwards - guitar on 3-21; vocal on 3-21

*John Duffey - mandolin on 3-21

*Peter Bonta - piano on 3-21

*Lou Reid - electric bass on 3-21; vocal on 3-21

*Robbie Magruder - drums on 3-21

*Patty Griffin - vocals on 4-1; harmony vocals on 4-14

*Martie Maguire - mandolin on 4-1

*Emily Robison - Weissenborn on 4-1

*Glenn Worf - bass on 4-2, 4-4, 4-11, 4-13, 4-16

*Paul McInerney - drums on 4-2, 4-13

*Mark Knopfler - electric guitar on 4-4; vocals on 4-16; guitars on 4-16

*Guy Fletcher - acoustic guitar on 4-4; keyboards on 4-16

*Mike Henderson - mandolin on 4-4

*Geraint Watkins - Hammond B-3 organ on 4-4

*Chad Cromwell - drums on 4-4, 4-16

*Levon Helm - harmony vocals on 4-6, 4-7; backing vocals on 4-6; drums on 4-7

*Tim Gorman - backing vocals on 4-6; piano on 4-7

*Jody Payne - backing vocals on 4-6

*Donivan Cowart - backing vocals on 4-6

*George Jones - vocal on 4-9

*John Jarvis - piano on 4-10; Wurlitzer electric piano on 4-11

*Harry Stinson - drums on 4-11, 4-15

*Mary Chapin Carpenter - harmony vocals on 4-14

*Dan Dugmore - acoustic guitar on 4-16

*Jim Cox - keyboards on 4-16

*Danny Cummings - drums on 4-16

*Glen Duncan - fiddle on 4-16; mandolin on 4-16

*Jim Keltner - drums on 4-17

Chart performance


Category:Albums produced by Tony Brown

Category:Box set albums

Category:Emmylou Harris compilation albums

Category:2007 compilation albums

Category:Rhino Records compilation albums

it:Songbird: Rare Tracks and Forgotten Gems

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Artist/Band Information

Emmylou Harris (born April 2, 1947 in Birmingham, Alabama) is an American singer-songwriter and musician. In addition to her work as a solo artist and bandleader, both as an interpreter of other composers' works and as a singer-songwriter, she is a sought-after backing vocalist and duet partner, working with numerous other artists including Gram Parsons, Bob Dylan, Warren Zevon, Linda Ronstadt, John Denver, The Band, Elvis Costello, Conor Oberst, and Dolly Parton.


Early years

Emmylou Harris is the daughter of career military officer Walter Harris and his wife Eugenia. Walter Harris, a member of the Marine Corps, was reported missing in action in Korea in 1952 and spent ten months as a prisoner of war. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Emmylou Harris spent her childhood in North Carolina and Woodbridge, Virginia, where she graduated from Gar-Field Senior High School as class valedictorian. In high school she also won a drama scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she began to study music seriously, learning to play the songs of Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez on guitar. Leaving college to pursue her musical aspirations, she moved to New York, working as a waitress to support herself while performing folk songs in Greenwich Village coffeehouses. She married fellow songwriter Tom Slocum in 1969 and in the following year recorded her first album, Gliding Bird. Harris and Slocum soon divorced, and Harris and her newborn daughter Hallie moved in with her parents in the Maryland suburbs on the edge of Washington, D.C."Charlie Rose Show" June 25, 2008

With Gram Parsons

Harris soon returned to performing as part of a trio with Gerry Mule and Tom Guidera. One night in 1971, members of the country rock group The Flying Burrito Brothers happened to be in the audience. Former Byrds member Chris Hillman, who had taken over the band after the departure of its founder Gram Parsons, was so impressed by Harris that he briefly considered asking her to join the band. Instead, Hillman ended up recommending her to Parsons, who was looking for a female vocalist to work with on his first solo album, GP. Harris toured as a member of Parsons' band, The Fallen Angels, in 1973, and the couple shone during vocal harmonies and duets. Harris was quite pleased, and invested a lot emotionally in their relationship. Later that year, Parsons and Harris were working together to record a studio album, Grievous Angel. Parsons died in his motel room near what is now Joshua Tree National Park on September 19, 1973, from an accidental overdose of drugs and alcohol. Parsons's Grievous Angel was released posthumously in 1974, and three more tracks from his last sessions with Harris were included on another posthumous Parsons album, Sleepless Nights, in 1976. There was one more album of recorded material from that period of time that was packaged with the name, Live 1973, but wasn't released until 1982.

The working relationship between Harris and Parsons is one of great importance in country and country-rock music history. Parsons offered Harris a study in true country music, introducing her to artists like The Louvin Brothers, and provided her with a musical identity; Harris's harmony and duet vocals, on the other hand, were lauded by those who heard them, and helped inspire Parsons' performances. His death left her devastated at an emotional and musical crossroads. She eventually carried on with her own version of Parsons' musical vision, and was instrumental in bringing attention to his achievements. Harris's earliest signature song, and arguably her most personal one, "Boulder to Birmingham", written shortly after Gram's death, showed the depth of her shock and pain at losing Parsons. It was, according to her best friend Linda Ronstadt, the beginning of a "lifetime effort to process what had happened", and was just the first of many songs written and/or performed by Harris about her life with (and without) Parsons.

I would rock my soul in the bosom of Abraham

I would hold my life in his saving grace.

I would walk all the way from Boulder to Birmingham

If I thought I could see, I could see your face.

--"Boulder to Birmingham"

lyrics by Emmylou Harris

The Hot Band

JamesBurton(by Scott Dudelson).jpgthumbleft200pxHot Band member James Burton

Warner Brothers A&R representative Mary Martin introduced Harris to Canadian producer Brian Ahern, who produced her major label debut album, Pieces of the Sky, released in 1975 on Reprise Records. The album was surprisingly eclectic, especially by Nashville standards, including cover versions of The Beatles' "For No One", Merle Haggard's "Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down" and The Louvin Brothers' "If I Could Only Win Your Love". It also featured "Bluebird Wine", a composition by young Texas songwriter Rodney Crowell, who was the first in a long line of songwriters whose talents Harris has championed. The record was one of the most expensive country records produced at the time, featuring the talents of James Burton, Glen Hardin, Ron Tutt, Ray Pohlman, and Bill Payne, as well as two tracks ("Before Believing" and "Queen of the Silver Dollar") that were cut with the Angel Band. Two singles were released: "Too Far Gone", which initially charted at #73 (a 1979 reissue hit #13), and Harris's first big hit, "If I Could Only Win Your Love", a duet with Herb Pedersen (later to be a founding member of The Desert Rose Band), which peaked at #4.

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 1950s, and Hardin had been a member of The Crickets. Other Hot Band members were drummer John Ware, pedal steel guitarist Hank DeVito, and bassist Emory Gordy, Jr., with whom Harris had worked while performing with Parsons. Singer-songwriter Crowell was enlisted as a rhythm guitarist and duet partner., Emmylou.net. Retrieved 2007-10-04. Harris's first tour schedule originally dovetailed around Presley's, owing to Burton and Hardin's continuing commitments to Presley's band. The Hot Band lived up to its name, with most of the members moving on with fresh talent replacing them as they continued on to solo careers of their own.

Elite Hotel, released in December 1975, 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; in terms of quality and artistic merit, tracks like "Sin City", "Wheels", and "Till I Gain Control Again", which weren't singles, easily stood against tracks like "Together Again", "Sweet Dreams", and "One of These Days", which were. While Elite Hotel was a #1 country album, the album did sufficiently well as a crossover success with the rock audience. 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). Elite Hotel won a Grammy in 1976 for Best Country Vocal Performance, Female.

Harris's reputation for guest work continued. Aside from contributing to albums by Linda Ronstadt, Guy Clark and Neil Young, Harris was tapped by Bob Dylan to perform on his Desire album. Harris also filmed one of the studio sequences, owing to her touring schedule, in The Band's The Last Waltz, singing "Evangeline."

Burton left the Hot Band in 1976, choosing to remain with Elvis Presley's band, and was replaced by English guitarist Albert Lee. Harris's commercial apex was Luxury Liner, released in 1977, which remains one of her definitive records. On Luxury Liner, Harris's mix of songs from Chuck Berry ("(You Never Can Tell) C'est La Vie"), Gram Parsons (the title track and "She"), The Carter Family ("Hello Stranger") and Kitty Wells ("Making Believe") illustrate a continuity and artistic merit to country music often overlooked at the time. Despite Top Ten singles with "C'est La Vie" and "Making Believe," the album's best known track is the first recorded cover of Townes Van Zandt's classic "Pancho & Lefty", which would be a #1 hit for Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard in 1983. At the end of 1977, 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 signalled 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. "Two More Bottles of Wine", written by Delbert McClinton, became Harris's third #1 single, "To Daddy", written by Dolly Parton, went to #3, and a third single, "Easy From Now On", went Top Twenty. The album included two songs apiece from Crowell ("I Ain't Living Long Like This" and "Leaving Louisiana In The Broad Daylight") and songwriter Jesse Winchester ("Defying Gravity" and "My Songbird"), and Utah Phillips' "Green Rolling Hills."

The Roots Records

In 1977 (January), Harris married Brian Ahern. make beautiful music together. Their (Harris's second) daughter, Meghann, was born in 1979. During this time, Harris cut three studio albums that reflected a shift toward traditional country (the industry, on the other hand, was about to embrace Urban Cowboy). The first key to the change in direction was her Grammy Award-winning 1979 album Blue Kentucky Girl. 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. One of her best-loved albums, the record includes songs ranging from The Louvin Brothers' "Everytime You Leave" to Willie Nelson's "Sister's Coming Home" to Gram Parson's signature "Hickory Wind". Wesley Rose took special interest in Harris's recording of "Beneath Still Waters", which became a #1 smash.

A Christmas album, Light of the Stable, was released in 1979; its title track featured backing vocals by Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Neil Young, all three of whom Harris had been working with sporadically since the mid-1970s, and would continue to collaborate with through the 2000s. (Harris, Parton and Ronstadt began working on a planned trio album during this time, though it would remain unfinished for nearly a decade; a few of the tracks recorded for the project surfaced on the women's' respective solo albums in the interim.) The album is largely acoustic, featuring readings of traditional fare such as "Silent Night," "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and "The First Noel."

In the 1980s, Harris pursued country music's history even further with the bluegrass-oriented recording of Roses in the Snow, featuring Ricky Skaggs, Tony Rice, Albert Lee, Emory Gordy Jr. and Jerry Douglas. Harris's versions of the traditional "Wayfaring Stranger" and Paul Simon's "The Boxer" were strong singles.

In 1980, Harris recorded "That Lovin' You Feelin' Again" with Roy Orbison. The duet was a Top 10 hit on both the Country and Adult Contemporary charts. They would win the Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. She would also be featured on Paul Kennerley's concept album The Legend of Jesse James, which also featured Levon Helm of The Band and Johnny Cash.

Pop-chart success, songwriting

In 1981, Harris 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 ill-fated 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.)

White Shoes in 1983 included an eclectic pairing of the rockish reading of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" with a remake of the Donna Summer hit "On the Radio", as well as tracks from a diverse group of songwriters such as Hot Band member Crowell, Sandy Denny and T-Bone Burnett.

Harris's major-label releases thus far had included few self-penned songs, but in 1985 her songwriting skills were much in evidence with the release of The Ballad of Sally Rose, for which she co-wrote all of the songs. The album was semi-autobiographical in theme, based loosely on her relationship with Parsons. Harris described it as a "country opera". Her co-writer and producer on the album was English songwriter and musician Paul Kennerley, writer of the hit singles "Born to Run" (on Harris's 1981 Cimarron album) and "In My Dreams" (on White Shoes). Kennerley also produced her next album, Thirteen. They were married in 1985 and divorced in 1993.

In 1987, nearly a full decade after they'd first attempted to do so, Harris teamed up with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt for their long-promised and much-anticipated Trio disc. The album proved to be the biggest commercial success of Harris's long and varied career, spending five weeks at #1 on Billboard's Country Albums chart (also quickly reaching the Top 10 on the Pop Albums chart), sold several million copies and produced four Top 10 Country hits, including "To Know Him Is To Love Him", which hit #1. The disc was nominated for the coveted Album Of The Year Grammy award (given to U2 that year for The Joshua Tree) and the three women won the statuette for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal; the album's Linda Thompson-penned track "Telling Me Lies" reached #3 Country, #25 Adult Contemporary, and was also nominated for a Grammy as 1987's Best Country Song.

Harris also found time in 1987 to release a solo album, Angel Band, featuring traditional gospel songs, on which she worked with, among others, rising country star Vince Gill.

In 1989, she recorded two songs with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on their album, Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume II. 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:

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.

Around 1991, she dissolved The Hot Band and formed a new band of acoustic musicians—Sam Bush on fiddle, mandolin and vocals, Roy Huskey, Jr. on bass and vocals, Larry Atamanuik on drums, Al Perkins on banjo, guitar, Dobro guitar and vocals, and Jon Randall on guitar, mandolin and vocals—which she named The Nash Ramblers. They recorded a Grammy Award-winning live album in 1992 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, which led to the $8 million restoration of the facility into a premium concert and event venue. It was her last album with Reprise Records.

New directions

By the 1990s, Harris started receiving less airplay as mainstream country stations began shifting their focus to the youth-oriented "new country" format. Harris's albums Bluebird and Brand New Dance (1989 and 1990, respectively) received ample critical acclaim and sold reasonably well, yet her chart success was on the wane. 1993's Cowgirl's Prayer—the first album since her switch to Elektra Records—was critically praised but received very little airplay, and its lead single, "High Powered Love" charted very low, peaking at #63, prompting her to shift her career in a new direction.

In 1995, 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. An experimental album for Harris, the record included Harris's rendition of the Neil Young-penned title track (Young himself provided guest vocals on two of the album's songs), Steve Earle's "Goodbye", Julie Miller's "All My Tears", Jimi Hendrix's "May This Be Love", Kate and Anna McGarrigle's "Goin' Back to Harlan" and Gillian Welch's "Orphan Girl". U2's Larry Mullen, Jr. showed up to play drums for the project. The album received virtually no country airplay whatsoever, but did bring 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 1998, backed with a power trio comprising Nashville producer, songwriter and guitarist Buddy Miller and 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 1998, she appeared prominently on Willie Nelson's moody, instrumentally sparse Teatro album, produced by Wrecking Ball producer Lanois.

During the summer of 1997 and 1998, 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.

In January 1999, Harris released Trio 2 with Parton and Ronstadt. Much of the album had actually been recorded in 1994, 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. It included their version of Neil Young's classic "After The Gold Rush", which became a popular music video and won another Grammy—this one for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals. Harris and Ronstadt then released a duet album, Western Wall: The Tucson Sessions, later the same year. The two superstars toured together during the fall months in support of the disc. Both albums made the Top 10 of Billboard's Country Albums chart and did well on the pop side as well.

Also in 1999, Harris paid tribute to her former singing partner Gram Parsons by co-executive producing Return of the Grievous Angel: A Tribute to Gram Parsons, an album that gathered together more than a dozen artists. Harris performed duets with Beck, Sheryl Crow and The Pretenders on this album's tracks.

In 2000, Harris released her solo follow-up to Wrecking Ball, Red Dirt Girl, produced by Lanois protege Malcolm Burn. 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 #5 on Billboard's Country Albums chart as well as a healthy #54 on the pop side. It also won Harris another of her 12 Grammy awards, in the category of Best Contemporary Folk Album.

Harris also accompanied on alternative country singer Ryan Adams' solo debut Heartbreaker and on Tracy Chapman's fifth album Telling Stories.

Also in 2000, Harris joined an all-star group of traditional country, folk and blues artists for the T-Bone Burnett-produced soundtrack to the Coen Brothers film, O Brother, Where Art Thou? The soundtrack won multiple CMA, ACM and Grammy awards. A documentary/concert film, Down from the Mountain, featured the artists performing music from the film and other songs at the Ryman Auditorium. Harris and many of the same artists took their show on the road for the Down from the Mountain Tour in 2002. In 2003, Harris supplied the finishing touches in harmonizing with the Dixie Chicks on a song they were recording in the studio, "Godspeed".

On September 9, 2005, 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 performed with Beth Neilsen Chapman and the Dixie Chicks, harmonizing on Patty Griffin's song, "Mary."

Recent work

Harris released Stumble into Grace, her follow-up to Red Dirt Girl, in 2003. Like its predecessor, it contained mostly self-penned material. In 2004, Harris led the Sweet Harmony Traveling Revue tour with Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Buddy Miller and Patty Griffin. They performed singly and together and swapped instruments.

Emmylou Harris 2006 2.jpgthumb300pxrightHarris playing in Rotterdam, Netherlands (2006)

In 2005, Harris worked with Conor Oberst on Bright Eyes' release, I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, performing backup vocals on three tracks. In July, she joined Elvis Costello on several dates of his U.S. tour, performing alongside Costello and his band on several numbers each night. Harris and Costello recorded a version of Costello's song, "The Scarlet Tide", from the soundtrack of the movie Cold Mountain. July also saw the release of The Very Best of Emmylou Harris: Heartaches & Highways, a single-disc retrospective of Harris's career, on the Rhino Entertainment label. This same year, Harris appeared as a guest vocalist on Neil Young's widely acclaimed Prairie Wind. She also appeared in the Jonathan Demme documentary-concert film Neil Young: Heart of Gold, released in 2006.

Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris.jpgthumbleft220pxHarris performing in the Netherlands with Mark Knopfler

All the Roadrunning, an album of collaborations with former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler, was released in April 2006 and supported by a tour of Europe and the USA. The album was a commercial success, reaching #8 in the UK and #17 in the USA. Selections recorded during the All the Roadrunning tour performance at the Gibson Amphitheatre were released as a CD/DVD package titled Real Live Roadrunning in November 2006. In addition to several of the compositions that Harris and Knopfler recorded together in the studio, Real Live Roadrunning features solo hits from both members of the duo, as well as a few classic tracks from Knopfler's days with Dire Straits.

Harris is featured on A Tribute To Joni Mitchell, released on April 24, 2007. Harris covered the song "The Magdalene Laundries" (originally on Mitchell's 1994 album, Turbulent Indigo). She sang "Another Pot O' Tea" with Anne Murray on Murray's album Anne Murray Duets: Friends and Legends, released November 13, 2007, in Canada and January 15, 2008, in the U.S.

Harris wrote a song called "In Rodanthe" for the 2008 film Nights In Rodanthe.

A solo album, All I Intended to Be, was released on June 10, 2008, to critical acclaim. Contributors include Buddy Miller, the McGarrigle sisters, Vince Gill, Phil Madeira, and Dolly Parton. She toured with an ensemble she dubbed the Red Dirt Boys, featuring Phil Madeira on accordion, guitar, and keyboards, Colin Linden on guitar and banjo, Rickie Simpkins on mandolin and fiddle, Chris Donohoe on bass, and Bryan Owings on drums./ It did not include Miller, who was touring with Robert Plant, Alison Krauss and T Bone Burnett at the time. In 2009, Harris toured with Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin, and Miller as "Three Girls and Their Buddy". Madeira, Simpkins, and Donohue performed with her in late 2008, and in 2009, appearing on "A Prairie Home Companion" and at MerleFest and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. In September 2009, Owings rejoined the Red Dirt Boys with Miller for the remainder of 2009.

In April 2009 Harris became a grandmother. Her daughter gave birth to a daughter, Prudence."All For The Hall California benefit concert review", Nashville Gab, http

In 2010, Harris regrouped with the latest version of the Red Dirt Boys—Madeira, Owings, Donohue, and Simpkins—for Lilith Fair summer dates and a scheduled US autumn tour.

According to an interview with Bonnie Tyler by Digital Spy, Emmylou Harris will be teaming up with her on Tyler's upcoming album. Harris will do backing vocals on a song, written and produced by Wayne Warner.

A new solo album, Hard Bargain, is to be released on the Nonesuch label on 25 April, 2011.


In 1997 and 1998, Harris performed in Sarah McLachlan's Lilith Fair, promoting feminism in music. Since 1999, Harris has been organizing an annual benefit tour called Concerts for a Landmine Free World. All proceeds from the tours support the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation's (VVAF) efforts to assist innocent victims of conflicts around the world. The tour also benefits the VVAF's work to raise America's awareness of the global landmine problem. Artists that have joined Harris on the road for these dates include Mary Chapin Carpenter, Bruce Cockburn, Sheryl Crow, Steve Earle, Joan Baez, Patty Griffin, Nanci Griffith, Willie Nelson, and Lucinda Williams. Harris is a supporter of animal rights and an active member of PETA. She founded, and in her spare time assists at, an animal shelter in Nashville.

Awards and other honours

Grammy Awards

2005 Best Female Country Vocal Performance ("The Connection")

2001 Album of the Year (O Brother, Where Art Thou?)

2000 Best Contemporary Folk Album (Red Dirt Girl)

1999 Best Country Collaboration with Vocals ("After The Gold Rush", with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt)

1998 Best Country Collaboration with Vocals ("Same Old Train", with Alison Krauss, Clint Black, Dwight Yoakam, Earl Scruggs, Joe Diffie, Marty Stuart, Merle Haggard, Pam Tillis, Patty Loveless, Randy Travis, Ricky Skaggs & Travis Tritt)

1995 Best Contemporary Folk Album (Wrecking Ball)

1992 Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal (Emmylou Harris & The Nash Ramblers At the Ryman, as Emmylou Harris & The Nash Ramblers)

1987 Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal (Trio, with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt)

1984 Best Country Vocal Performance, Female ("In My Dreams")

1980 Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group ("That Lovin' You Feelin' Again", with Roy Orbison)

1979 Best Country Vocal Performance, Female (Blue Kentucky Girl)

1976 Best Country Vocal Performance, Female (Elite Hotel) at www.grammy.com, retrieved 21 March 2008/

Country Music Association Awards

2001 Album of the Year (O Brother, Where Art Thou?)

1980 Female Vocalist Of The Year

1988 Vocal Event of the Year (Trio, with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt) www.cmaawards.com. Retrieved 21 March 2008.

Other honors

* VH1's 100 Most Influential Women in Rock and Roll (1998) - Number 22 out of 100

* Billboard's Century Award recipient (1999) - inducted by Sarah McLachlann

* CMT's 40 Greatest Women of Country Music - #5 ranking (2002)

* Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on February 12, 2008


Collaborations and other appearances



* In the Country of Country: A Journey to the Roots of American Music, Nicholas Dawidoff, Vintage Books, 1998. ISBN 0-679-41567-X

* Emmylou Harris: Angel in Disguise, Jim Brown, Fox Music Books, 2004. ISBN 1-894997-03-4

* Fong-Torres, Ben. (1998). "Emmylou Harris". In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbury, Editor. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 230.

This text has been derived from Emmylou Harris on Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0

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