Emmylou Harris

Brief Biography

Many have written about the seminal influence of singer-songwriter, musician, producer and arranger, Emmylou Harris, but her story is unfinished as she continues to innovate, collaborate and blaze new artistic trails. To date she has earned 12 Grammy Awards; 3 Country Music Association Awards; was named one of the Most Influential Women in Rock and Roll; received Billboard’s Century Award; was named one of CMT’s Greatest Women of Country Music; inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame; and inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her early work with Gram Parsons is of great importance in country and country-rock history, and her solo albums, including Wrecking Ball, one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the 1990s, all represent significant contributions on the North American music scene. The list of important artists with whom Emmylou Harris has worked and collaborated is a veritable ‘who’s who’ in modern music history. She has performed at Lillith Fair, promoting feminism in music, and since 1999 she has been organizing an annual benefit tour called Concerts for a Landmine Free World. A supporter of animal rights, she founded an animal shelter in Nashville where she assists in her spare time. In April, 2011, she will release her newest album, Hard Bargain, on the Nonesuch Records label. It contains 11 new original songs and 2 covers, including the title song written by Canada’s own Ron Sexsmith. Mariposa is enormously proud to enter its next 50 years of quality music programming by presenting on our stage, as our festival headliner, the legendary Emmylou Harris.


“There are legendary country singers, and then there’s Emmylou: a breathtaking pinnacle of poise and elegance, and an artist who continues to innovate with every new release.” —Time Out New York

Hard Bargain, the new album from musical icon Emmylou Harris, will be released April 26 on Nonesuch Records. The album follows Harris’ acclaimed 2008 release, All I Intended to Be, which received widespread acclaim—Newsweek called it an album that “shows that Harris is still the stalwart songbird at the top of the roost.” Hard Bargain, which comprises 11 new songs by Harris as well as two covers, was produced by Jay Joyce (Cage the Elephant, Patty Griffin). A deluxe edition of the album, which includes a DVD featuring six performances interspersed with interviews, will also be available.

In celebration of the release, Harris will embark on a series of performances including a showcase at the 2011 SXSW Music and Media Conference as well as special intimate shows in New York and Los Angeles. Additionally, on April 27, Harris will perform on the Late Show with David Letterman.

“We did the whole record in about a month, which is quite unusual for me. But I had all the material beforehand. I’d written 11 of the 13 songs and I really wanted to include two more by other writers,” Harris explains. “One of the covers is Ron Sexsmith’s ‘Hard Bargain’ which I absolutely love. The other is by Jay Joyce, called ‘Cross Yourself.’

“We did the whole thing with just three musicians, me being one of them. Jay, the producer, and Giles Reeves play everything between them. It’s not a stripped down record though; there’s only one song that’s a little bare bones. I’m basically a slow ballad-y person, but Jay managed to really move the songs up a bit. But they still have the same emotional feel.”

Two of the album’s songs look back at relationships that were central to Harris’ creative life. She wrote “Darlin’ Kate” for her close friend and collaborator Kate McGarrigle, who died last year of a rare form of cancer, while “The Road” casts its eye further back to the formative time Harris spent with country/rock icon Gram Parsons at the beginning of her career.

A 12-time Grammy winner and Billboard Century Award recipient, Emmylou Harris’ contribution as a singer and songwriter spans 40 years. She has recorded more than 25 albums and has lent her talents to countless fellow artists’ recordings. In recognition of her remarkable career, Harris was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008.

The Road
Home Sweet Home
My Name Is Emmett Till
Goodnight Old World
New Orleans
Big Black Dog
Lonely Girl
Hard Bargain
Six White Cadillacs
The Ship on His Arm
Darlin’ Kate
Cross Yourself