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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Pieces Of The Sky

Emmylou Harris

1975

Pieces Of The Sky
Album Summary

Pieces of the Sky is the second studio album by American country music artist Emmylou Harris, released in February 1975 through Reprise. Although she had released the obscure folk-styled Gliding Bird five years earlier, Pieces of the Sky became the album that launched Harris's career and is widely considered to be her début. In those intervening years she forged a musical relationship with Gram Parsons that altered the musical direction of her career. The album includes Harris's first high-charting Billboard country hit, the #4 "If I Could Only Win Your Love," and the relatively low-charting #73 "Too Far Gone" (originally a 1967 hit for Tammy Wynette). The overall song selection was varied and showed early on how eclectic Harris's musical tastes were. In addition to her own "Boulder to Birmingham" (written for Gram Parsons, who had died the previous year), she included the Merle Haggard classic "The Bottle Let Me Down," The Beatles' "For No One," and Dolly Parton's "Coat of Many Colors." (Parton, in turn, covered "Boulder to Birmingham" on her 1976 album All I Can Do.) On Shel Silverstein's "Queen Of The Silver Dollar," Harris's longtime friend and vocal collaborator, Linda Ronstadt, sings harmony. Pieces of the Sky rose as far as the #7 spot on the Billboard country albums chart. Pieces of the Sky was included in Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.06

Votes

10211
Genres
Country
Folk
Singer Songwriter

Reviews

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Wed Jul 07 2021
4

I’m beginning to realize I don’t dislike country. I dislike the modern hybridization of pop and country.

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Fri Dec 03 2021
5

Emmylou Harris is somehow an underrated country legend. When it's all said and done, she'll forever be on the Mount Rushmore of female country artists, along with Loretta Lynne, Tammy Wynette, and Dolly Parton. None of those country legends have a voice like Emmylou Harris. And the puzzling thing is that it seemingly took years for Nashville to truly embrace her. She'd consistently put out album after album, all of them great, but the early knock on Emmylou was that she never wrote her own songs. This, her debut country album, is mainly covers, including one from the aforementioned Dolly and even a deep cut from The Beatles. But the real gem from this album is the one song Emmylou wrote, and it became her signature song. "Boulder To Birmingham" is one of the greatest sad songs ever put on record, and it wrecks me every time I hear it. Just listen to the words of "Boulder To Birmingham". You feel the pain and sorrow she has over losing her mentor Gram Parsons. She can't understand why he's gone, and more importantly, she can't fathom why no one else feels like she does over his death. Emmylou's tastes were clearly too eclectic and ahead of her time for Nashville (and there may have been some hesitancy to fully embrace her because of her previous association with Parsons, another vanguard in their opinion). But Emmylou focused on keeping the spirit of Gram Parsons alive. She'd solidify her legacy (and write many more great songs) on future albums, but this one clearly puts her on the map. Props for getting former Eagle and Flying Burrito Brother Bernie Leadon, along with many other musicians in Parsons' orbit, to play on this gem of an album. To my ears, Emmylou is the true First Lady of Country Music.

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Thu May 12 2022
5

Damn, I knew her, kind of, but it hasn't really hit me until now how breathtaking her voice is. She really communicates a depth of emotion. I'm tempted to complain that she didn't write most of these songs, but in a way it's interesting that she does write some, yet chooses to record others' music. It's like admitting, there are songwriters as good or better than me, so why not sing their songs instead? And the one she wrote (Boulder to Birmingham) is a stunner.

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Thu Mar 25 2021
5

The alt country queen! I love Emmylou, but this genre is hit or miss for people. Personally I love it, so this is a 5 star for me.

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Fri Jul 21 2023
3

My favorite voice in country music, just exquisite. I know her work with others more than her own albums, so this was a welcome find. Some beautiful songs esp. Boulder To Birmingham and the Beatles cover. No doubt the wonderful Dylan album "Desire" is on this list, but if not it's a required listen if you love her voice as much as I do.

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Sat Feb 26 2022
5

Baby brought me in out off the highway Made me put my money in the bank, bank Straightened out my crooked way of thinking Made it purely pleasure when I drank - bluebird wine

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Thu Nov 03 2022
5

I know several of the songs on this album - but performed by other artists. Emmylou Harris does them justice. I love the variety on this album. Favorite songs include Boulder to Birmingham, For No One, and Queen of the Silver Dollar. But the whole album is really a pleasure.

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Wed Jun 23 2021
4

This was great. Country can be a bit hit and miss and I can't listen to it for too long but I really liked this album. Although it's got a few covers on it, it's not a covers album but Emmylou Harris only has a writing credit for one song. Interesting stuff.

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Wed Mar 31 2021
4

Such a beautiful voice, great lyrics

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Sun Mar 21 2021
4

Feels like the heart of Americana, thoroughly enjoyed this surprise of an album

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Fri Nov 05 2021
4

Beautiful voice, modern-ish country, amazing and emotional ballads (Boulder obviously, but also others), excellent Beatles cover. Very good album.

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Fri Jul 21 2023
3

I bought this on recommendation a few years ago and never got round to listening to it. The sound of the record is exquisite and, to my ears, unusual: there’s so much going on, it often is a wall of sound, , but one where you can easily make out each individual element. The songs are frequently beautiful, but oppressively tasteful. Harris’s voice is outstanding, perfect and distinctive, the experience of hearing her sing these covers is like watching an exceptional actor play a classic role. Lovely, but not haunting. Unfairly, Souled American’s handful of skeletal covers jump to mind as the victorious counter argument. After writing that I listened to their take on “Little Bessie, and let faint terror in. I’m not asking for a Lo-fi slowcore Emmylou Harris album, but some grit and flaw would have lifted this record up. S, this morning I saw a brown bear on the way to the nursery - O shouted “DAHG!”

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Fri Oct 06 2023
3

"Pieces of the Sky" by Emmylou Harris is a country music classic that showcases her angelic voice and talent as an interpreter of songs. Released in 1975, it marks her debut solo album and the beginning of a storied career. Tracks like "Bluebird Wine" and "Boulder to Birmingham" are notable for their emotional depth and Harris's haunting vocals. The album's production, led by Brian Ahern, is polished and tasteful, with a mix of traditional country and folk influences. While "Pieces of the Sky" is an impressive debut, it doesn't quite reach the same heights as some of Harris's later work. Some listeners might find it a bit uneven, with a mix of original compositions and covers. However, it's a foundational album that laid the groundwork for her subsequent success in the country and folk genres, earning it a solid 3/5 rating.

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Wed Jan 27 2021
5

So good. My favourite we've had so far.

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Wed Jun 23 2021
5

She does a good job covering Dolly Parton. (Unless it’s the other way round) either way I’m a fan. I love coat of many colours it’s my favourite Dolly song.

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Thu Feb 18 2021
5

awesome album! I am a softy for good country music!

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Sat Jun 19 2021
5

Emotional and honest, love the story telling and the vibe of the old school country

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Wed Aug 11 2021
5

I'm not a big country fan. However, I do like what I consider to be REAL country: not the countrified-rock crap that is put out today. Emmylou's voice is amazing, and this album was a gem from start to finish.

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Fri Apr 01 2022
5

Unreal vocals. Quintessential country music right here

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Mon Sep 19 2022
5

One of my favourite country albums so far on this list. Harris’s voice gave goosebumps on at least a few occasions. September 19, 2022

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Thu Nov 03 2022
5

Sublime. More like this please!

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Thu Nov 03 2022
5

Here is the warm fuzzy blanket that I could have used yesterday!

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Thu Nov 03 2022
5

Oh, I was needing this. Absolutely lovely, and sounding both old fashioned and very modern (both in good ways). It made me laugh ("Queen of the Silver Dollar") and cry ("Coat of Many Colors"). I love hearing a talented voice sing a wonderful variety of songs by amazing artists (Merle Haggard, Lennon-McCartney, Shel Silverstein, and Dolly Parton!) with backup by Linda Ronstadt! Speaking of Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt... I'm still waiting!

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Wed Nov 16 2022
5

Best Song: Boulders to Birmingham or Queen of the Silver Dollar. Timeless, beautiful voice. Great gospel/country/folk vocal melodies. I'm sure this album has been very influential to many female singer-songwriters.

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Mon Jan 23 2023
5

Sublime. Beautiful vocals, excellent playing, American music at its absolute finest.

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Sun Feb 19 2023
5

Album: Pieces of the Sky Artist: Emmylou Harris Year: 1975 Album #: 72 (listened after album 274) first impressions: usually not super excited to listen to country but this sounds pretty surprisingly contemporary and not...crusty and whiny. after listening through: what an emotional and musical rollercoaster!! i'm exhausted but also excited to dig further into her catalog. post-reading reviews/wiki: curious what contemporary musicians will end up like Ms Harris 50 years from now, if any. recommended for: Dolly Parton fans

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Mon May 29 2023
5

Genuinely heartbreaking country ballads. Gorgeous arrangements. An incredibly talented singer.

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Thu Jun 08 2023
5

Hauntingly beautiful voice. ever ever heard of her and immediatly fell in love. country usually isn't my thing (minus ts debut or any dolly parton bc duh), but she made me realize that I actually do like the country-folk mixture she does.

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Wed Jun 21 2023
5

Wonderful country/bluegrass album. Great songs, great voice.

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Fri Jun 30 2023
5

Glorious, beautiful, soaring. 5 stars.

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Mon Jul 03 2023
5

second emmylou harris album and wow i love country music again

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Thu Aug 17 2023
5

I love her voice so much. Most of these songs are covers but that doesn't bother me. Queen of The Silver Dollar is one of my favorite country songs. All in all I probably enjoy this at the 4 level, but its absolutely criminal that the current community rating is barely over 3. It needs a 5.

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Mon Sep 04 2023
5

Emmylou Harris' style of music is country folk. It sounds like a female John Denver. Her voice is beautiful. She does a fantastic job of covering Dolly Parton's song Coat of Many Colors. Overall, a fantastic album. Perfect for a lazy Sunday. Favourite songs: Queen of the Silver Dollar, Bluebird Wine, Bottle Let Me Down, Coat of Many Colors, Hank and Lefty, California Cotton Fields, Boulder to Birmingham, If I Could Only Win Your Love, Least favourite songs: Sleepless Nights, For No One 5/5

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Fri Sep 22 2023
5

country music is great and this proves it

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Sun Oct 22 2023
5

Great! Cool covers. I especially liked For No one

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Wed Oct 25 2023
5

Well, damn. I'm diggin' rap AND country now? I can't find a single thing to criticize. I couldn't help but hear a little Dolly Parton, and then she goes and covers "Coat of Many Colors" to make me feel like I might know WTF I'm talking about. The Beatles' cover ranks among the best I've heard — not of that song specifically, but a general statement that she did an expert job translating the song and bringing something personal and new. Great arrangements, harmonies, instrumentation, playing... I mean, what else do you listen to music for?

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Wed Dec 13 2023
5

Sweet voice. Always a pleasure.

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Wed Jan 17 2024
5

Song: Boulder to Birmingham Wow. This song is so stunning, and it nearly brought me to tears. Emmylou Harris's voice is absolutely beautiful, so pure and sweet, and she sings with so much emotion that I just got swept up in the song. I could listen to that on repeat for hours.

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Wed Jan 24 2024
5

OMG I grew up on this album. My mother loved folk music and my dad like bluegrass. Emmylou is the perfect mix of both.

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Wed Jan 31 2024
5

Wow the vocals alone are a 5!

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Wed Jan 31 2024
5

Great early post gram Parsons weepy country.

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Mon Feb 26 2024
5

Really enjoyed it. Like kind of sad, very good country music. 9/10

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Fri Mar 15 2024
5

No one told me country could be this good.

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Thu Nov 19 2020
4

The singing and playing are flawless. However, although Emmylou got here first, I think there are stronger collections of alt country songs out there, which i will almost certainly be going back to before this one.

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Thu Jan 07 2021
4

1/6 Real good folk album. Standout Tracks: Bluebird Wine, Bottle Let Me Down, Queen of the Silver Dollar

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Wed Jun 30 2021
4

Almost magical, which is remarkable for an album of, as I understand it, mostly covers. It contains a nice range of country sounds, and Emmylou's voice is a smooth constant. It doesn't outlive its welcome in any way, but near the end becomes a collection of songs as opposed to a cohesive LP.

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Mon Sep 21 2020
4

It was a nice listen, I can't say too much about it.

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Wed Mar 31 2021
4

Hank Williams did it in the 50s, emmylou Harris in the 70s

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Sun Jan 31 2021
4

Great tracks, classic country, awesome covers. Not my usual tastes but will listen to again

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Wed Jun 23 2021
4

Don’t usually like country but this was nice, great voice

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Tue Jun 29 2021
4

I must like country music. It just sounds like *music*. Particularly the duets. Don’t know why those are able to get through these jaded ears and into my brain.

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Wed May 26 2021
4

Country del mero mero. El disco abre muy bien con Bluebird Wine, que es mi favorita del disco. Siguen tracks buenos y muy estándar del género. Mi siguiente favorito es Blottle Let me Down. En general son letras de sufrimiento, por eso me gustó mucho la primera. Buen cover de For No One de The Beatles. 3.5 que sube a 4 porque sí lo disfruté.

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Thu Feb 18 2021
4

Never heard this - this is great country music! Her voice and the production is a sweet kiss of Americana

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Wed Jul 07 2021
4

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this country folk album- especially when a beebles cover came out of nowhere

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Fri Jan 29 2021
4

Country music, alright if you’re into that genre.

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Thu Jan 28 2021
4

Pretty good. Very good voice. Not remarkable enough to listen to regularly, but very nice for the background and definitely something I could listen to again, especially within larger playlists.

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Sat Jun 19 2021
4

A lovely country album. 8.1/10

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Fri May 28 2021
4

Was pleasantly surprised by this one

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Mon May 24 2021
4

Fleetwood mac vibeke en euhm Gilf

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Mon May 24 2021
4

Yes i like it, ook nog wat anders geluisterd van artist and i like it

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Mon May 24 2021
4

YIHAAAA BABY! ZO BEGINT GE EEN ALBUM 🤠 If i could only win your love, mooi.

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Mon May 31 2021
4

liked the "Coat of Many Colors" cover, I feel like I should listen to this one a bunch more

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Wed Jul 07 2021
4

Stonking opening track and then it ebbed and flowed after that but in an enjoyable way. Will defo listen again

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Fri Jul 30 2021
4

I keep hearing Alison Krauss. But this is way before!

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Tue Aug 24 2021
4

Emmylou Harris is a titan of the Americana scene. Utilizing traditional instrumentation, a subtle western beat, and a gift for storytelling, she creates earnest, compelling music that is entirely her own. Like the outlaws of the 70s and 80s, Harris operates outside the Nashville formula, and borrows across genres.

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Tue Aug 24 2021
4

If you’re gonna listen to country this is a good choice.

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Tue Sep 07 2021
4

Country animado. Está bien.

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Fri Sep 10 2021
4

Good background music. Really nice voice and not too “country”.

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Sun Sep 12 2021
4

She has a beautiful voice. I loved the Beatles cover.

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Thu Sep 23 2021
4

“Pieces of the Sky” by Emmylou Harris (1975) This major label debut by superstar Emmylou Harris is a fine collection of covers of worthy songs, with excellent country instrumental arrangements providing plenty of clear space for individual flourishes (pedal steel, banjo, mandolin, strings, and you name it). The meaty midsection of the album is passionate and potently evocative. Harris’ voice is outstanding, with tremendous use of dynamic variation (e.g., “Too Far Gone”), touching stylings, dreamy resonance, bold interjections of power, and country-honest inflection. It’s all demonstrated on this record, which goes a long way toward explaining why she subsequently became one of the most sought-after backing vocalists in the history of recorded music. Her selection of songs by other artists provides a suitable vehicle for the passion of her performance, eclectic yet well ordered. She teases us into it with the opening track “Bluebird Wine”, a shuffling thank you note to liquid (and cheap) intemperance. The album ends with “Queen of the Silver Dollar”, a raucous and recklessly triumphant celebration of lower middle class (im)morality written by Shel Silverstein (of all people). God, I love the proletariat. Merle Haggard’s “Bottle Let Me Down” is delivered by Harris with sugar and sass, reflecting on the bad feelings one has when the alcohol doesn’t quite ease the pain. Maybe she needs to graduate from wine to port. The one song on this album written by Harris is “Boulder to Birmingham”, a beautifully poetic lament, grieving over an unexpected loss (the demise of her mentor Gram Parsons). Sadly flawed (by a gimmicky rapid oscillation between left and right channels applied to the Rhodes keyboard), it still gets a sob and tears on only the second listen. And again, she goes from wail to whisper in an instant, and then back again as she storms into the chorus: “I would walk all the way from Boulder to Birmingham if I thought I could see your face”, she sings. But it ain’t gonna happen, she knows, as she looks out the airplane window at the prairie and the sky. “The hardest part is knowing I’ll survive.” Hard for you, Emmylou. Fortunate for us. Harris gives a sublime interpretation of Dolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors”, a touching alternate take on the biblical story of Jacob’s preferred son, Joseph, and the envy of his brothers (Genesis 37:3-4, KJV). It’s a rich embellishment of the notion of poverty, suitable for Everyman. If you’re not (yet) a fan of country music, this album just might make you one. 4/5

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Wed Sep 29 2021
4

Emmylou’s voice is just incredible throughout this album. The songwriting is a joy to listen to and the covers are perfectly matched. A little on the slower side but it fits the tone well.

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Fri Nov 19 2021
4

Listening to this album, it hit me that there is a distinct lack of country music on this list. I can only really think of one other straight-up country album that I've gotten. Regardless, this album is everything that's good about country. Harris has a beautiful voice full of emotion, and the accompanying music is good without distracting from from her as the focus. I'm not in love with her cover of For No One by the Beatles, but at least it's more tasteful than most Beatles covers 4/5

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Mon Dec 20 2021
4

Awesome album. The varied instrumentation and is rousing during the lively songs and beautiful during the pretty songs, and naturally the singing is also on point.

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Fri Jan 21 2022
4

Amazing voice, good classic country

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Thu Jan 27 2022
4

jättebra, klockren kvalité och mix. Bra känsla, roliga texter och topnotch 'instrumentalitet'. Önskar all country va så här

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Thu Jan 27 2022
4

Queen of the silverdollar. Fucking fire dude. This album is great.

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Thu Jan 27 2022
4

She's the original angelic country singer that all copycats are based on. And this is a really good album. Showcases perfectyly what she is about

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Wed Feb 02 2022
4

Great songwriting and vocals.

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Wed Feb 02 2022
4

I know Emmylou Harris from her work with Gram Parsons which I love but regrettably have listened to much more. That is the great thing about this challenge as it is getting me to listen to more than my dozen favourite albums on repeat. This is a beautiful album. Really good traditional country that just shys away from the Nashville glitz. I need to give this a few more listens for all the songs to sink in. A couple of songs lose me but a few others sound as good as her work on Grevious Angel.

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