The ballad of Emmylou Harris
Your first thought on meeting Emmylou Harris is that if this is what 30-oddyears on the road fronting country-rock bands does for you, maybe we shouldall try it. For all the grief it brought her early on, it seems, as sheenters her seventh decade, to have left her in terrific shape.
Never mind the fact that she is commonly referred to as a “legend,” a routinetribute to her role in making country music cool again in the 1970s, whichwas trumpeted by an effusive Jools Holland when she performed on his TV showLater in May. Forget the 15m albums she’s sold, her dozen Grammys, the hallsof fame to which she’s been elected and the respect she’s earned from fellowlegends who have queued up to sing with her over the years – a cast that hasincluded Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Dolly Parton and Mark Knopfler.According to another of her many musical accomplices, the country starRodney Crowell, Harris has been “one of the few women who have that culturalmystique that poetic artists like Dylan and Lennon carry. She was one of thefirst women to stand up with that sort of integrity”.
This is all laudable stuff; but what’s most striking about Harris in person isjust, well, her