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Country singer Emmylou Harris spent forty years recording hit music, often working with artists like Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, and Linda Ronstadt.
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Harris recorded her debut album, Gliding Bird (1970), with the small folk music label Jubilee, which filed for bankruptcy shortly after the album's release. Later that year, Harris and Slocum moved to Nashville to try their luck on the country music scene. The marriage failed that same year, and Harris moved back to her parents' farm outside Washington, D.C., with her infant daughter, Hallie.
Harris resumed singing and playing the guitar in D.C., which was becoming known for its unique receptivity to country, folk, and bluegrass music. While performing with a trio at local bars, Harris met several members of the maverick country-rock band the Flying Burrito Brothers, who introduced her to their ex-bandleader, Gram Parsons. Parsons had just begun his solo career, and needed a female vocalist to sing harmony on his debut solo effort, GP (1972). Harris became Parsons' protégé of sorts, and learned a great deal from his groundbreaking country-rock fusion style. She also went on tour with Parsons and his backup act, the Fallen Angels, and returned to the studio with him in 1973 to record his acclaimed follow-up album, Grievous Angel. Tragically, in September 1973, Parsons died in a California hotel room from a heart attack brought on by drug and alcohol abuse.
After the untimely death of her mentor, Harris formed her own group, the Angel Band, and signed with Warner Bros./Reprise Records. In Los Angeles with producer Brian Ahern, Harris recorded and released her solo major label debut, Pieces of the Sky, in 1975. Ahern and Harris were married in January 1977, and Ahern would helm all of Harris' next 10 albums. An eclectic collection of covers of songs by artists as diverse as Merle Haggard and The Beatles, Pieces of the Sky spawned the Top 5 country hit "If I Could Only Win Your Love," by the Louivin Brothers. She recorded her second album, the top-selling Elite Hotel (1976), with a new backup band called the Hot Band, which included two sidemen of Elvis Presley.
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