After working as a folk singer and touring with the Flying Burrito Brothers and Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris set sail on a sea of country hits that would stretch from the '70s to the '90s. Here are a dozen of the wonderful songs that made Emmylou a star.
Less than two years after her mentor Gram Parson's death, Harris recorded her first album for Reprise. Pieces of the Sky
inaugurated a suite of four mid-'70s albums and a surprising number of hits: her sound was clearly traditional, but also tastefully up-to-date with folk-rock and singer/songwriter styles, and her cyrstalline, febrile vocals took standards such as "Sweet Dreams" and "If I Could Only Win Your Love" back up the charts. Profile
focuses on these early hits, and if it's too brief to capture all the best songs from four-star albums such as Elite Hotel
, Luxury Liner
, and Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town
, it shows why Harris is important and why she continues to make adventurous country music. Through unfailingly tasteful song selection, brilliant occasional songwriting, and her cool, velvety soprano, Harris extended Gram Parsons's vision of "cosmic American music" and made it her own. --Roy Kasten