Emmylou Harris is an American musician and songwriter who possessed one of the most unique voices in country, pop, rock, and folk music. Her expressive and distinctive songs have won her a place in American pop history
Emmylou Harris’ career as a musician has grown for over forty years and during the course of this period, Lou worked with famous musicians like Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, and Linda Ronstadt. Her passion for music coupled with her hard work won her numerous awards and made her music top the country charts.
Who Is Emmylou Harris? – Bio, Age
Emily Lou was born into a military family in Birmingham, Alabama on April 2, 1947. Her father was a decorated Marine Corps officer who spent ten months as a prisoner of war in Korea in 1952 while her mother was a wartime military wife.
Emily Lou’s childhood years were spent in North Carolina and Woodbridge both in the city of Virginia where she graduated from high school as the class valedictorian. She thereafter bagged a scholarship to study Drama at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. There, she also began studying music seriously and as a result, she learned how to play Bob Dylan and Joan Baez’ songs on the guitar.
However, Emily Lou dropped out of college and moved to New York City to pursue her musical ambitions fully. She worked as a waitress to sustain herself while she performed folk music at the Greenwich Village coffee houses.
Having become something of a star, Emily briefly put her musical career on holds after marriage to give herself some time to adjust to married life. The hiatus lasted longer than many fans expected but later returned to her passion when the said marriage fell apart and they got divorced. While performing Gerry Mule and Tom Guidera’s songs at a particular bar, she met the renowned “Flying Burrito Brothers” who introduced her to their former band leader- Gram Parsons. This meeting was just what Emmylou needed as Parsons was looking for a female singer to collaborate with in his solo debut album titled GP at the time. They toured together and made an album- Grievous Angel- which was released posthumously in 1974 after Parsons died on September 19, 1973.
Parsons’ death made Lou to eventually move to Los Angeles after signing with Reprise Record having founded her own singing group which she branded the Angel Band. She worked with her second husband; producer Brian Ahern to produce what would later become her major 10 albums. Her first major debut Pieces of the sky was released in 1975 and the album featured a diverse fusion of covers from the Beatles to Merle Haggard.
Harris’ second award-winning album Elite Hotel was recorded with a newly formed band called “Hot Band.” She dropped five more albums; Luxury Liner, Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town, Profile: The Best of Emmylou Harris and Blue Kentucky Girl in the 1970s. The latter won her a second Grammy award.
Her third husband, Paul Kennerly, worked with her to release a semi-autobiography album titled “The Ballad of Sally” and two other solo albums-Thirteen and The Angel Band. She also recorded a Trio in 1987 with fellow country stars such as Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt which grew to become the bestselling album of all time in Lou’s entire singing career.
In 1995, she released her experimental album – Wreaking Ball which became a huge hit and earned her a Grammy award. She released more albums in 2000 with her most recent single released in 2013.
In total, she has successfully released 26 studio albums, three live albums, 11 compilation albums, three video albums, and 70 singles. Harris has 13 Grammy awards and three CMA to her name.
Her Husband and Daughter
EmmyLou Harris met and married songwriter Tom Slocum in 1969 while performing in Greenwich Village. She recorded her first album, Gliding Bird in 1970. Harris and Slocum’s marriage soon fell apart when she found out she was pregnant for Slocum, subsequently her record label folded up because of the demand of marriage. She moved back to her parent’s farm outside Washington, DC, to raise her newborn daughter which she christened Haille.
In 1977, Emmylou married her producer Brian Ahern at his home in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Their union produced a daughter Megan and the two divorced in 1984. She soon found love again in singer and songwriter Paul Kennerly and they wedded in 1985; divorced in 1993.
Height and Other Facts
Harris is 5.ft.5 ins (1.65cm) tall and weighs 58kg.
She was awarded an honorary doctorate of music from Berklee School of Music in 2009.
She is a vegetarian and a registered member of the PETA.
She is an animal lover who named her rescue shelter-Bonaparte Retreat- located in Nashville after her dog that died in 2002.
Emmylou is strongly involved in women rights advocacy. She has performed many times at the Lilith fair which is a female-only concert.
She is a fervent supporter of the LGBT community and believes in equality.
She did not start as a country singer; she originally started her career in folk music.
Despite receiving her first Grammy award for best country vocal performance in 1976, it was till 1992 that she was made a member of the Grand Ole Opry.