How Emmylou Harris influenced a change in country music and how it was heard in the 1960’s and 1970’s.In this assignment, I will research and investigate how Emmylou Harris influenced a change in country music in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. I aim to give a brief synopsis of her background which details how her childhood and early years, influenced her later work. My goal by the end of this assignment is to have discussed her work with other major country music influencers like Dolly Parton and Neill Young.
I also hope to give a summary of her successes and awards won throughout her career which establishes just how significant her role is in country music from the 1960’s to date.The Early Life of Emmylou Harris and the Beginning of Her CareerBorn April 2nd, 1947 in Birmingham, Alabama, U.S to Walter and Eugenia Harris, Emmylou grew up in a house with both parents being apart of the military.
Unlike many artist, her troubled past which included her father being pronounced Missing In Action (MIA) for 10 months influenced her work throughout her career, making her relate, empathise and sympathise with her audience. Emmylou was valedictorian of her year and won a scholarship. She enrolled in 1965 at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro and majored in dramaCITATION Pol15 p 1 l 6153 (Prize, 2015, p. 1), however, she later dropped out of her studies to focus on her career in music and became a waitress in New York in order to survive while also performing in the evenings in hope of achieving her dreams. Emmylou married Tom Slocum in 1969 and she then released her first album Gliding Bird’ in 1970 which featured some original songs and some covers from artists such as Bob Dylan and Burt Bacharach. However, just after the album was released, the label she was with, Jubilee, declared bankruptcy which resulted in her album not getting the recognition it deserved. While this may have caused other artists to become apprehensive of releasing their music, it only inspired Emmylou to try harder. She was determined to make her dreams come true and her dedication resulted in her becoming one of the most influential artist in relation to country music. At this time she was also going through a divorce with her now ex-husband Slocum. Emmylou was discovered and introduced to Gram Parsons after playing shows with Gerry Mule and Tom Guidera. Gram Parsons at the time was looking for a female vocalist to sing with him and Emmylou was perfect for that role. This resulted in her appearing on two of Parsons albums, including GP’ and Grievous Angels’ and she also appeared on tour with him. Their voices blended together creating beautiful harmonies and a new sound by mixing country music, folk music and rock music. This was a very uncommon genre to be mixed with traditional country and this can be described as the beginning of her influence on the change of country music. Grievous Angels’ was released in 1974 after Gram Parsons passing in 1973. This was the start of Emmylou Harris’ career as a country and folk artist. She recorded on an album which was eclectic especially by Nashville standards. She had released covers of songs from many famous artists, such as For No One’ by The Beatles and If I Could Only Win Your Love’ by The Louvin Brothers. It was clear from the beginning that she was not afraid to show off her talents as a vocalist as she was not apprehensive to cover songs by worldwide famous artists such as The Beatles. This album was one of the most expensive albums produced at this time as it featured many famous country artists, for example, James Burton and Bill Payne. There was two singles released, the first one being Too Far Gone’ which reached number 73 on the charts and the second one being Harris’ first big hit, If I Could Only Win Your Love’ which was a duet with Herb Pedersen and it reached number 4 on the chart. It is clear from the onset that Harris. Emmylou Harris and The Hot BandIn 1975, Warner Bros. recording artist Emmylou Harris gathered some of the world’s greatest roots musicians and dubbed them The Hot Band. That group included guitarists Rodney Crowell, and Albert Lee, steel guitarists Hank DeVito and Steve Fishell, keyboard player Glen D. Hardin, bassist Emory Gordy Jr., and drummer John Ware. CITATION emm19 l 6153 (emmylouharris.com, 2019) . Both James Burton and Glen Hardin played with big artists such as Elvis Presley and Gram Parsons. Unlike many country artists at the time, Emmylou Harris hired Albert Lee who was a British Born country-rock artist. It was very uncommon for country artists at the time to not be from the south of America, which Emmylou Harris herself was not. By playing with Albert Lee, the music that was produced contained an element of British Folk music and this was just one other genre of music that Harris mixed with country that gave her a fresh sound in comparison to the well-known traditional country music heard to date.