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The Very Best of Emmylou Harris: Heartaches and Highways
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Product Description

Less than two years after the death of her mentor, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris recorded her first album for Reprise. Pieces of the Sky inaugurated a suite of four mid-'70s albums and a surprising number of hits: her sound was clearly traditional, but also tastefully up-to-date with folk-rock and singer/songwriter styles, and her crystalline, febrile vocals took standards such as "Love Hurts" and "If I Could Only Win Your Love" back up the charts. This compilation brings together her biggest hits, and shows why Harris is important and why she continues to make adventurous country music. Through unfailingly tasteful song selection, brilliant occasional songwriting, and her cool, velvety soprano, Harris extended Gram Parsons's vision of "cosmic American music" and made it her own. --Roy Kasten

Masterful at rock, country, folk, bluegrass, and more, Emmylou Harris is one of the most distinctive and visionary voices in contemporary music. The artist's lucid, achingly gorgeous vocals and a string of celebrated albums-many featuring her acclaimed "Hot Band"-have earned Harris eleven Grammys and made this alt-country/roots-rock innovator a legend in her own time.

Customer Reviews:

  • Add this to your collection!
    I originally bought this CD for 1 or 2 songs. I saw her perform with Elvis Costello singing "Love Hurts" and I thought it was fantastic. I was disappointed when I couldn't find this duo singing; but, decided to purchase this CD. It really is very good. I am amazed by her talent. ...more info
  • Highlights From Every Studio Album + One New Track
    Over the past 30 years, Emmylou Harris has established herself as one of the most innovative artists in country music, and this 20-track collection (half of which is duplicated on 2001's 2-disc ANTHOLOGY) hits many of the highlights.

    While ANTHOLOGY focused on her Reprise years, this disc spans her entire career. The disc opens with her performing with her mentor Gram Parsons on the Boudleaux Bryant classic "Love Hurts" and closes with the new recording "The Connection." In between is at least one track from every studio album from 1975's PIECES OF THE SKY to 2003's STUMBLE INTO GRACE. In addition, there's "To Know Him Is To Love Him" from her TRIO album with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt, and "That Lovin' You Feelin' Again," a duet with Roy Orbison from the ROADIE soundtrack.

    Also worth noting is that Harris's Hot Band has always featured impeccable musicians, including (at various times) James Burton, Herb Perdersen, Albert Lee, Rodney Crowell, Hank DeVito and Ricky Skaggs.

    While principally an interpreter of other writer's songs, Harris co-wrote the classic "Boulder to Birmingham" and wrote "Michelangelo," a haunting track from 2000's RED DIRT GIRL.

    All told, this is a thoroughly satisfying and enjoyable album. [Running time 75:10] HIGHLY RECOMMENDED...more info
  • Heaven on a CD
    C. S. Lewis tells the story in his book "The Great Divorce" of a man who, as a ghost, takes a bus ride through both hell and heaven. One of things he discovers on his trip is that if your final destination is hell you will find that this present world was only a part of hell. However if your final destination was heaven, you will discover that this present world was a part of heaven the whole time.

    I know that my destination is heaven. How do I know this? Two words: Emmylou Harris.

    There are angels who sing to us in this present world - which is only a suburb of heaven. Linda Ronstadt, Charlotte Church, Loreena McKennitt, Natalie Merchant, and Emmylou Harris make up my angel band.

    From beginning to end this album is great! There's not one song on it that won't have you singing along. From the truly haunting "Love Hurts" duet with Gram Parsons to the country tune "Making Believe" to Townes Van Zandt's classic "Pancho and Lefty," this album is aptly subtitled: "The Very Best of Emmylou Harris."

    In the midst of the "Urban Cowboy" 1980s Emmylou Harris made bluegrass cool. Her "Roses in the Snow" album has been one of my personal "top five favorite albums of all time" for a quarter century. "Wayfaring Stranger" is perhaps my favorite cut from that album, and is included here as well, featuring the talent of Ricky Scaggs.

    "Born to Run" will have you tapping your foot (if not just outright dancing!) There's a duet with Roy Orbison and a trio with Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton. "Orphan Girl," "Beneath Still Waters," and "Michelangelo" are quite memorable ballads.

    Emmylou has always been on the edge. Making great, heartfelt music with meaning, even when the trends were going in other directions. This album is worth every penny you spend on it.

    Dr. Mike Kear ...more info
  • Emmylou reunited with producer Brian Ahern on new cut
    Watch Video Here: I am a ravenous music collector and I try to keep complete the discographies of the all the artists I love. Retreading Emmylou's history here would be superflous. We all know how golden her entire discography is. We could all argue which songs should be here and which shouldn't (although personally I'm suprised nothing from the sterling BLUEBIRD made the cut...)

    What i noticed missing from all the prior reviews was a little more detail about the real reason all us Emmylou collectors would buy this disc...for the new song.

    I purchased this collection soley for "The Connection" -- expecting another cut in the vein of post-Wrecking Ball Emmylou.

    I was shocked reading the liner notes and finding out this cut was produced by Emmylou's former producer/husband Brian Ahern. I was further excited to see Fayssoux Starling was credited as the backing vocalist! Ahern was the producer of all the albums from the first phase of her solo career---Pieces of the Sky (1975) through White Shoes (1983). Fayssoux sang harmony on a lot of those early classics!

    It was thrilling and interesting to hear Emmylou's older and wiser voice behind a music backdrop recalling the earliest stages of her solo career. Haunting. It was like being back in time but firmly planted in the right now.

    Serious Emmylou collectors, "The Connection" is a pivitol moment. Buy this Cd if only for the legendary reunion of Harris/Ahern/Starling. And then once you wade through the beauty of this new cut, rediscover the glofy of the old ones too... ...more info
  • I love Emmylou!
    I love this CD, too! The variety is great, and the songs are all wonderful! ...more info
  • Music CD review
    This is a great CD for fans of Emmylou Harris. It has many favorite songs that I remember from previous CDs and also some tracks I hadn't heard before. As always, her voice delivers a true clear quality and her cover of "Love Hurts" was a genuine (and great) surprise! I would highly recommend this CD for fans of bluegrass and country rock as there are tracks that will please both audiences....more info
  • Small sample of an awesome body of work
    With her voluminous output, any Emmylou Harris compilation must of necessity be incomplete. There is rarely a dud on any of her many albums so the selection process can never be an easy one.

    This album opens with her famous duet with the legendary Gram Parsons and is followed by her own composition and tribute to him, Boulder To Birmingham, a song with beautiful imagery. Then comes the lovely ballad Making Believe which was only of her early great hits.

    Hits or not, every track is a gem, like Pancho And Lefty, Beneath Still Waters and the uptempo If I Could Only Win Your Love. Another great duet is the one with Roy Orbison, while To Know Him Is To Love Him is drawn from one of her collaborations with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt.

    Her lovely gospel style is represented here by Green Pastures, Orphan Girl and the achingly beautiful Calling My Children Home. The change of direction away from country into atmospheric rock took place in the 1990s with the album Wrecking Ball whence Orphan Girl and subsequently the breathtaking Michelangelo from Red Dirt Girl and Here I Am from Stumble Into Grace.

    My personal favourites on an album of masterpieces include Beneath Still Waters, Together Again, Boulder To Birmingham and the aforementioned three songs from her post country period.
    Emmylou Harris breathed new life into country from the mid 1970s and has since gone from strength to strength artistically. Hers is the most authentic, heartfelt female voice of the last three decades.

    Heartaches and Highways is a superb introduction to this consummate artist that has contributed so much and I highly recommend it to the novice. Her devoted fans will have most of the original albums anyway.
    ...more info
  • Emmylou Harris: Heartaches and Highways
    I have loved the artist for years. I don't think she could ever do badly. As with all albums, some are more to my liking than others. My favorite album by her is SpyBoy. Still all her works are worth owning....more info
    The album is SUPERB and thank you for ALWAYS making my purchases, albeit CD's or books, a pleasure. You folks are great!!! Thank you very much.
    ...more info
  • One fault---this needed to be a two-disk set!
    Otherwise, it's wonderful. Really does span the years, but I think there are some places where more emphasis is needed and would have preferred to see a second disk to do it. ...more info
  • To touch the heart.
    The fact that Emmylou Harris is breathtakingly beautiful distracts only very slightly from her amazing grace as a singer. She is truly touched and truly moving....more info
    I thoroughly enjoy every song on this CD, and listen to it often.
    ...more info
    I was not a fan of Country Music until the day I heard the angelic voice of Miss Emmylou Harris on the radio. The song she was singing, or rather the way she was singing it, touched my very soul. That was 20 years ago and I have purchased every record and CD she has ever put out. I love you Patsy, Tammy and Loretta, BUT Emmylou Harris will ALWAYS be the Queen of My Heart! Be sure to hear her sing on the Brokeback Mountain Movie CD. It will break your heart and touch YOUR soul! Love, Dennis...more info
  • SIMPLE: One of the most important female artists out there!
    I have been listening to Emmylou Harris since I first heard her album she seems to forget. That would be 'Gliding Bird", too bad so few have heard it. All the years since have only convinced me that she has become the best there is. She is an important part of American music Not to offend anyone, but she is way beyond Gram Parsons now. I have seen her many times over the past 20 years. She continues to reach for new things and performs with artists that can only be in awe of her voice. For proof of this check her musical history. It will blow you away,...more info
  • Emmy Lou
    This CD is Emmy Lou at her very best. She sings like a Rolex watch keeps time....more info
  • A brief summary of a thirty-year career
    Emmylou has always been a singer that focused on albums. Her music covered a wide variety of styles, but each album had its own style, although the changes in style became even more dramatic in the nineties. This compilation brings together tracks from all those differently styled albums from the mid-seventies to the start of the new millennium.

    If you are familiar with her more recent music via albums like Wrecking ball, Spyboy and Red dirt girl but not her earlier music, I must warn you that this is primarily a country music compilation although the last few tracks come from those later albums.

    During the seventies and eighties, Emmylou had many hits on the American country charts including five solo number one hits, all cover versions and four of them included here - Sweet Dreams (a Patsy Cline cover) is missing, but this is just a single CD compilation. Emmylou's other country number ones were Together again (Buck Owens), Two more bottles of wine (Delbert McClinton), Beneath still waters (George Jones) and a live recording of Lost his love on our last date (Floyd Cramer). Emmylou's seventies and early eighties recordings are also represented by such classics as If I could only win your love, Boulder to Birmingham, Making believe, Pancho and Lefty, One of these days and Born to run, but (as any Emmylou fan will testify), a lot of great songs has been left out.

    Emmylou also had a number one country hit with To know him is to love him (a cover of the fifties pop hit by the Teddy Bears) which she recorded with her friends Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt and which is also included here. We believe in happy endings, a duet with Earl Thomas Conley, also reached number one in the country charts but you have to buy Emmylou's Duets album to get that - it's not here. Two of Emmylou's many other duets are included - Love hurts (with Gram Parsons) and That loving you feeling again (Roy Orbison).

    Country radio stations eventually lost interest in Emmylou's music, at which point Emmylou decided to change the direction of her career and the style of her music. Wrecking ball and the albums that followed it featured plenty of Emmylou's own songs. Although Emmylou had occasionally written songs in her younger days (notably Boulder to Birmingham and the songs for the concept album, Ballad of Sally Rose), it wasn't until the new phase in her career that she took song writing really seriously.

    This is a brief overview of Emmylou's career covering three decades of music. If you are on a limited budget or you only want a little of Emmylou's music, this may suit you ideally. The new generation of Emmylou fans who enjoy Wrecking ball and what followed but who are doubtful about the early stuff may also find this a worthwhile purchase - it will enable them to decide whether to commit themselves to exploring further. Country music fans, on the other hand, are likely to get more enjoyment from the double-CD Anthology compilation or by collecting the individual early albums....more info
  • ipod Music
    I you have an ipod or any MP3 player, you should have The Very Best of Emmylou Harris!

    If you haven't heard Emmylou's music, this is a great introduction!

    If you listened to the samples on your computer and weren't impressed, put on your headphones and listen again!!!...more info
  • sadly beautiful
    No matter who you are or what your musical inclination may be, you simply have to respect Emmylou Harris. She has been a fixture of American music for more than three decades, and her body of work has become a virtual cornerstone of everything that is "American". More than a dozen solo albums, plus numerous side projects and collaborations leave a body of work that is just too huge to compile on one CD. A true overview would require much more than one disk, but if you are looking for a concise collection that captures the spirit and essence of her life's work, then this is it. "Heartaches and Highways" stretches the full length of Harris' career, from her days of singing harmony with Gram Parsons ("Love Hurts") to a new recording featured exclusively on this disk ("The Connection").
    As it should be, the emphasis here is on Emmylou Harris' singing, but the caliber of her backing musicians over the years is second to none. Her choice of material has been equally outstanding, featuring legendary writers such as Townes Van Zandt ("Pancho and Lefty"), Delbert McClinton ("Two More Bottles of Wine"), and Gillian Welch ("Orphan Girl"), not to mention a few classics from her own pen ("Boulder to Birmingham", "Michelangelo"). A few more uptempo songs would have been a welcome addition, but I can understand their absence, since virtually everything included here is indispensable. Spanning over thirty years, it is interesting to hear as she progresses from the crystalline tone and perfect sense of harmony of her early recordings toward the textural and emotive resonance of her latest work. "Heartaches and Highways" might only scratch the surface, but it is enough to prove that Emmylou Harris is a national treasure.
    A- Tom Ryan
    ...more info