The opportunity to honor the female role models who have affected them both personally and professionally was extended to eight of our favorite musicians and performers. Emmylou Harris serves as Miranda Lambert’s primary inspiration when it comes to what it takes to have a successful, lengthy career. Not only is the well-known performer one of the country star’s greatest songwriting influences.
My father introduced me to Emmylou, John Prine, Guy Clark, David Allan Coe, and the entire era. When you first hear the voice as a child, you’re old enough to recognize this emotion of “Why do I feel so warm inside?”
Although I grew up listening to Emmy, I wasn’t familiar with her until I started to seriously contemplate a career in music. I knew every word by heart, but until I really started creating songs at the age of 16 or 17, they didn’t have the same kind of impact on me. The first song was possible “Two More Bottles of Wine” by Delbert McClinton. I had been wondering, “How do I be a badass and still be feminine?” since I had gone through that period.
Although I had heard the male version, the female singer’s voice affected me more. That was all coming from Emmy. Her rendition of “Boulder to Birmingham,” a wonderful song, literally tears your heart out. Then I heard “Two More Bottles of Wine,” and I thought, “This lady is here to party and not take s**t.” For me, it’s the same.
I like Emmylou because she carries herself with such grace and heart in everything she does, making it impossible for me to tell which songs she wrote and which ones she didn’t. “Easy From Now On” was another song that I believed would alter my life when I was 18 years old. I got a massive wild card tattoo of a queen of hearts on my right arm because the line from that song, “Don’t worry about me, I got a wild card up my sleeve,” hit me so hard. As we were writing my song “Bluebird,” I questioned, “Can we just write an ode to that?” (2019). The sentiment conveyed in that song was identical to the sentiment in “Easy From Here On.”
I don’t know whether we’ve ever composed a song like that without mentioning Emmy, though. We incorporated a reference to “Roses in the Snow” when writing “I’ll Be Lovin’ You” for [2022’s] Palomino with Luke Dick and Emmylou’s former bandmate Jon Randall since, of course, we had been talking about Emmylou.
Since 2000, I’ve wanted to cover “Red Dirt Girl,” but I’ve never had the courage. I was suddenly interrupted by one of those songs. When I was seventeen, my mother and I drove around radio stations handing out CDs in an effort to draw listeners in the manner of Loretta Lynn. My mother quickly pulled over when “Red Dirt Girl” began playing as we were heading to El Paso or somewhere else. The story was the most wonderful and fantastic one I had ever heard. The author was clearly just her when I checked her up afterward. The bar was immediately increased for my songwriting as a result. I thought I wasn’t performing it properly. I’m after it, whatever it may be. I’ve been doing that for the past 23 years.
I’ve consistently said that I desire a career similar to Emmy’s because it is a career that never ends. Her 26 albums are all distinctively different from one another. Emmy has some independence because she can perform whenever she wants, with whomever she wants, and she can choose the songs she wants to write and cover. The sight of it is really inspiring.
It helps to remember when you started to fan the flame you initially felt at age 17. We occasionally lose our cool because my hobby is also my work and vice versa. Yet, Emmylou music helps me rekindle that flame.