Though Emmylou Harris earned a boatload of Grammys and hit country singles over the course of her long career, her greatest achievements were aesthetic in nature. First with Gram Parsons and then on her own, she did an enormous amount to further the causes of country rock, progressive country, and alt country over the years. And since she was primarily an interpreter rather than a writer, she helped to shine a light on the work of some of America's greatest singer/songwriters who otherwise flew under the radar, like Townes Van Zandt and David Olney, as well as giving numerous great musicians a leg up via membership in her Hot Band. Harris was born on April 7, 1941 in Birmingham, Alabama, and started out as a folk singer. She released the indie album Gliding Bird in 1969 to little notice, but it was her partnership with country-rock trailblazer Gram Parsons in the '70s that first earned attention for her. Harris sang on his classic albums GP and Grievous Angel in 1973 and '74 respectively, helping to create the country-rock template in the process. She struck out on her own again in 1975 with Pieces of the Sky on Reprise, debuting an innovative blend of folk, rock 'n' roll, and classic country influences and covering songs by The Beatles, Merle Haggard, and The Everly Brothers. The approach was a commercial success straight out of the gate on the Country album and singles charts and continued to be so through the '80s. By the mid '90s, she was considered a key influence on the emerging alt-country movement, but she began a series of left turns, working with producer/guitarist Daniel Lanois on 1995's highly acclaimed Wrecking Ball, achieving a swirling, textural sound closer to swampy psychedelia than country. She expanded on that sound over her next couple of albums, earning a whole new audience in the process. Though she'd already won more than a dozen Grammys in her career, in 2018 Harris was given the Grammys' Lifetime Achievement Award.