The Rebirth of Emmylou Harris

The vocalist reinvents herself on a new album

"I thought of my voice as an instrument in the ensemble during the recording process," Harris allows. "I don't ever like to think of myself as the person out front, with a backing band behind me. I always feel like being the better part of a whole."

When she went to record her vocal parts, Harris says, "I didn't know exactly what I was going to do, but I never do. And that's actually one of the wonderful parts of making a record. I love the surprises and learning how you can unlock the meaning and emotional impact of a song."

Her tremendous success in this regard on Wrecking Ball has followers eagerly awaiting the next album. But Harris knows better than to try to rush inspiration. "This album has turned out to be a real gift that came to me mainly because I paid attention to the opportunities that presented themselves," she remarks. "And fortunately, I find myself in a really lucky place. There's not this pressure to sell millions of records. I have a smaller, pretty loyal audience that I think likes change and wants to be surprised. And I feel that I always will find an audience for what I do. Whatever that is.

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