The Gospel Music of Emmylou Harris
- Emmylou Harris’s musical influences
- Harris’s musical career
- Harris’s impact on gospel music
Emmylou Harris is an American singer-songwriter and musician. She has won multiple Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008. Harris is known for her work as a singer and songwriter in the genres of country, folk, and rock.
Emmylou Harris’s musical influences
Emmylou Harris is one of the most influential female country singers of all time. She has won Grammy Awards, been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and been given a Kennedy Center Honor. Emmylou’s music has been inspired by many different artists and genres over the years.
Harris’s family and musical background
Emmylou Harris was born in Birmingham, Alabama, on April 2, 1947. Her father, Walter Harris, was a career Air Force officer who played country music on the weekends. Her mother, Eugenia, was a homemaker. Harris’s musical influences growing up were Dolly Parton and Hank Williams. She began playing guitar when she was 12 years old and soon started writing her own songs.
Harris attended St. Mary’s Academy, a Catholic high school in New Orleans, where she graduated in 1965. She then enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, but left after one semester to pursue a music career.
The artists who influenced Harris’s musical style
Emmylou Harris is one of the most influential and celebrated country music artists of all time. Her musical style has been influenced by a wide range of artists, from Hank Williams to Patsy Cline to The Beatles. Here is a closer look at some of the artists who have influenced Harris’s musical style.
Harris has cited Hank Williams as one of her biggest influences. She has said that she first heard his music when she was just eight years old, and that it made a profound impact on her. Williams’s unique blend of country, blues, and gospel influenced Harris’s own style, and she would go on to cover several of his songs, including “I Saw the Light” and “Your Cheatin’ Heart”.
Another major influence on Harris’s music was Patsy Cline. Like Williams, Cline was a country music pioneer who blended different genres to create her own unique sound. Harris has said that she was first introduced to Cline’s music when she was just 13 years old, and that it left a lasting impression on her. She would later cover several of Cline’s songs, including “Crazy” and “Sweet Dreams”.
The Beatles were also a major influence on Emmylou Harris’s musical style. She has said that she first heard their music when she was in high school, and that it had a profound effect on her. The Beatles were one of the first bands to successfully combine different genres of music, and their influence can be heard in Harris’s own style.
Harris’s musical career
Emmylou Harris has had one of the most successful musical careers of any artist, in any genre. She has won multiple Grammy Awards, and been inducted into both the Country Music and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame. She has also been named “Woman of the Year” by both Time and Newsweek magazines.
Harris’s musical collaborators
One of Harris’s most fruitful musical relationships has been with songwriter and singer Rodney Crowell, with whom she recorded two duet albums and wrote many of her most memorable songs. The pair first worked together in 1974 when Harris was hired to sing backing vocals on Crowell’s second album, Ain’t Living Long Like This. Their collaboration yielded Harris’s first top-10 country hit, “You’re Only Lonely”, as well as the standard “She’s Crazy for Leavin'”. In 1975, Harris and Crowell were married, but divorced after four years.
Other singers with whom Harris has frequently collaborated include Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Roy Orbison, Gram Parsons (with whom she first rose to prominence), Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris has also been a member of various musical ensembles, including The Hot Band (with which she first gained notice) and The Nelson Riddle Orchestra.
Harris’s solo albums
Harris’s first three solo albums were released within an eighteen-month period from 1975–1976.They were all consideredcountry-rock, a genre not yet well defined but which would soon become enormously popular.Her debut album,Pieces of the Sky(1975), was co-produced with Brian Ahern and primarily featured songs written by others,including Gram Parsons (“Boulder to Birmingham”),Dolly Parton(“Tomorrow Is Forever”) and Guy Clark(“Fancy”).The album peaked at No.13 on the Country Albums chart and was certified Gold by the RIAA.It included two hit singles: “If I Could Only Win Your Love” reached No.4 on the Country Singles chart, while “Together Again”, a duet with Gram Parsons (recorded before his death in September 1973) peaked at No.29; Parsons also provided backing vocals on several other tracks.
Harris’s impact on gospel music
Emmylou Harris’s 1972 album, “Elite Hotel”, is often credited with bringing the “gospel sound” to country music. Her use of traditional gospel music elements, such as call-and-response vocals and hymn-like melodies, helped to broaden the appeal of country music and Harris’s own career.
Harris’s influence on other artists
Harris has been cited as an influence by many other artists, including Kathy Mattea, Mark Heard, Rosanne Cash, Suzanne Vega, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, The Cowboy Junkies, Ryan Adams, Miranda Lambert and Lucinda Williams. Mattea said of Harris, “She is one of the artists who inspired me early on in my career and continues to inspire me. I love her voice; it is both force and vulnerable at the same time.”
Harris’s contribution to the evolution of gospel music
Emmylou Harris is an American singer, songwriter, and musician. She has released more than 30 albums and has won 13 Grammy Awards. Harris is known for her work in the country music and folk music genres. However, she has also had a significant impact on the evolution of gospel music.
Harris’s upbringing exposed her to both white gospel music and black gospel music. Her father was a minister in the Church of Christ, and she often attended church services with him. These experiences influenced her own spiritual beliefs and instilled in her a love for gospel music.
Harris’s earliest recordings reflect her love of gospel music. Her debut album, Gliding Bird, contains several traditional gospel songs, including “Wayfaring Stranger” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” She would later go on to record hymns, such as “Amazing Grace” and “Be Thou My Vision,” as well as more contemporary gospel songs like “Oh Happy Day” and “People Get Ready.”
Harris’s recordings have helped to bring gospel music to a wider audience. Her beautiful voice and impeccable guitar playing have helped to make songs like “Amazing Grace” beloved classics. In addition, her willingness to experiment with different styles of gospel music has helped to broaden the genre’s appeal. For example, her duet with Dolly Parton on the song “He Touched Me” combines elements of country music and gospel music to create a unique sound that is both moving and spiritually uplifting.
Harris’s contribution to the evolution of gospel music is significant. Through her recordings, she has helped to expand the genre’s appeal and broaden its musical palette. She is truly one of the most important figures in contemporary gospel music.