In 1971, Emmylou Harris joined musician Gram Parsons who was looking for a female vocalist to work with him. She also toured with Parsons’ band, The Fallen Angels, and the duo gave wonderful performances which were loved by the audiences.
She worked with Parsons on the studio album, ‘Grievous Angel’ but Parsons died before the album could be released. The album was released posthumously in 1974. Even though Harris was devastated by Parsons’ death, she vowed to move on in her career.
In 1975, she released the album, ‘Pieces of the Sky’ which launched her career as a solo artist. This album contained the hit songs, ‘If I Could Only Win Your Love’ and ‘Too Far Gone’.
She released her album ‘Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town’ in 1978. The album reached No. 3 on the Billboard charts. It featured the song, ‘To Daddy’, written by Dolly Parton and the single ‘Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight’.
Emmylou Harris based her 1985 album ‘The Ballad of Sally Rose’ loosely on the relationship she once had with Gram Parsons. It was a concept album telling the story of a singer Sally Rose whose mentor is killed in a road accident.
In 1989, she brought out ‘Bluebird’, an album which was an eclectic collection of songs by Tom Rush, Rodney Crowell and McGarrigle Sisters. It had her top-ten country-charting single, ‘Heartbreak Hill’.
Her album ‘Cowgirl’s Prayer’ was out in 1993. It was a collection of mostly subdued songs with a couple of rocks thrown in. However, the album did not do well in spite of getting positive reviews.
In 1995, she released the album ‘Wrecking Ball’ in which she experimented with different sounds. The album became famous for its atmospheric sounds and was reviewed positively. At 48 years of age she had redefined her career.
She brought out the album ‘Red Dirt Girl’ in 2000 which reached No. 3 on the Billboard country album charts. Most of the songs in this album were co-written by her. It featured the song ‘Bang the Drum Slowly’.
In 2003, her album ‘Stumble into Grace’ was out. It peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard country albums chart and like its predecessor contained a lot of songs composed by Harris.
The album ‘All I Intended to Be’ was released in 2008 and reached No. 4 on Top Country Albums. It spawned the single ‘How She Could Sing the Wildwood Flower’ and was nominated for a Grammy Award.
She brought out the album ‘Hard Bargain’ in 2011 which debuted at No. 3 on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums. The opening number, ‘The Road’ was about her late mentor Gram Parsons.