Emmylou Harris’ Nashville Love Story

January 24, 2013 | By | Comments (4)
emmylou harris m Emmylou Harris Nashville Love Story

Photo by David McClister

Home Base: Nashville

Occupation: Singer/Musician

What’s on her Plate: The February 26 release of her new album Old Yellow Moon, a duet album with longtime collaborator Rodney Crowell

Nothing tops playing the Ryman Auditorium. It’s the Mother Church of Country Music, but whatever kind of music you’re playing there’s something so special about that stage. I think part of it is physical: It’s all wood with no corners. But part of it is spiritual. The history instills a sense of awe.

That being said, any venue on any given night can rock! Just give me a good band, a good sound man, and a good audience, and I’ll give you one fabulous show.

Rodney Crowell and I have been saying we were going to do a duet record since 1975. My new album, Old Yellow Moon, finally makes that a reality. Rodney was in my first backup band, wrote one of my earliest hits, “Bluebird Wine,” and is one of my dearest friends. We got into our sixties and thought, “You know what? We should probably go ahead and get that done.”

There’s something special about harmony. You create a new voice with a combination of two or three. It’s always unique and always changing. Collaboration is what I love best about making music.

One song that always appears in my sets is “Orphan Girl.” No matter how many times I change the set, I always perform that song second. It gets my voice going. It gets my blood going.

I have a deep, abiding love for Nashville. It’s a big city with a small-town feel that I’ve called home since 1983. On a perfect day there, you’ll find me just down the road from my house at Greer Stadium watching our local baseball team, the Sounds. The stadium is kind of old and funky and has a scoreboard shaped like a guitar. Then afterward, if it’s nice out, I’ll head over to Bobbie’s Dairy Dip [near Sylvan Park] for a grilled cheese and chocolate shake.

The quintessential Southern woman is full of grace. My mother embodies this better than anyone I know. There’s a gentility about her, and yet a strength. Everyone she meets falls in love with her. She always gives and does for other people without expecting anything in return. But if somebody crosses someone she cares about, especially her children—well, I wouldn’t want to tangle with her.

My daddy would roll over in his grave if he ever caught me driving an automatic transmission. He died in 1993, and I still drive his 1992 Ford Taurus. (He was a Ford man.) I’m gonna drive that car until it doesn’t have another mile left in it. Then I’ll think about a new car. I just hope they still make manual transmissions when I get around to buying one.

Kindness is something this world could use a lot more of. That’s what I’ve tried to instill in my two daughters, Hallie and Meghann. You need to treat people with respect and cut them some slack. Though, I don’t mean you should let them walk all over you.


  1. David Edwards

    I used to watch Emmylou perform at the Folk Ghetto in Norfolk in 1967 also, just like Herman King above. We knew she was going to make it. She used to sing more folk and Bob Dylan, etc in those days, and I remember she used to sing “Mr BoJangles” and mispronounce it “Bo Jingles” by mistake. The last time I saw her she had returned from New York and had been corrected by Jerry Jeff Walker who composed the song. She was great then, same as now.

    February 6, 2016 at 6:16 pm
  2. 5 Things We’re Buzzing About This Week – The Daily South | Your Hub for Southern Culture

    […] 2. The music of SXSW. The ten-day festival in Austin may have started last week, but the music part featuring hundreds of performances kicks off on Tuesday. We wish we were there to hear some of the killer line-up that includes Jason Isbell, The Polyphonic Spree, Lost Bayou Ramblers, The Flaming Lips, and Emmylou Harris. […]

    March 11, 2013 at 10:12 am
  3. Herman King

    When I was in the Navy in 1967 I discovered a coffee house, The Folk Ghetto, in an alley in downtown Norfolk. A crowd was about 15-20 people. There was a long-haired, long-legged beauty with the voice of an angel who had a hard time tuning her 12 string. Her name was Emmylou Harris–the same. Great music and great times in that place. They should have named her Lorelei, because she sure could charm a sailor.

    January 28, 2013 at 8:31 pm
  4. William Cochran

    Great article written about an even greater person. Love her music and everything else about Emmylou Harris. What a great southern woman. We need more people like her..

    January 25, 2013 at 7:42 am

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