Country Music Hall of Fame

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Emmylou Harris: Songbird’s Flight

October 05, 2018 - August 04, 2019

Country Music Hall of Fame member Emmylou Harris, winner of 13 Grammys and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy, will be featured in a new exhibition, Emmylou Harris: Songbird’s Flight, opening Oct. 5, 2018, at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The exhibit will run until Aug. 4, 2019.

Emmylou Harris: Songbird’s Flight, will explore the musical and personal journeys of an artist who has, for nearly fifty years, captivated both her industry peers and her music fans. Johnny Cash called Harris his favorite female vocalist, and Bruce Springsteen hails her as a national treasure. Harris commands great respect in the worldwide music community, and the exhibit will tell her story and expand her legacy by sharing her compelling music with museum visitors, who number more than a million annually.

Harris released her first major-label album in 1975, and in the years since she has brought millions of listeners to country music. She had seven #1 country hits and 14 Top Ten country albums on the Billboard country charts, and in early 2018 the Recording Academy presented her with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Emmylou Harris has spent a lifetime teaching master classes in integrity, musicality, individuality, and harmony, by example rather than by admonition. She seeks, finds and inspires the best in others, whether in melody and rhyme or in kindness and generosity,” said museum CEO Kyle Young. “We are privileged to pay homage to the career and contributions of one of country music’s most important and visionary artists.”

“From my first album, in 1975, the country music world has embraced me with open arms,” Harris said. “This exhibit at the Hall of Fame makes me realize once more how grateful and honored I am to be part of such a remarkable musical family."

A champion of worthy songwriters and musicians, Harris gave early career boosts to Rodney Crowell, Buddy Miller, Ricky Skaggs, Gillian Welch, and many others. Countless country singers cite Harris as an influence, including Suzy Bogguss, Mary Chapin Carpenter, the Dixie Chicks, Patty Loveless and Trisha Yearwood. Harris’ influence extends beyond country music. Acclaimed artists such as Patty Griffin, Lucinda Williams and many others reference her as an artistic guidepost.

Emmylou Harris: Songbird’s Flight includes many unique items such as Harris’ first guitar, a Kay 1160 Deco Note, built c. 1965, and a jacket designed by Manuel Cuevas that Harris wore on the cover of the album Trio and in performance with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt.

Additional highlights include:  

  • Military decorations awarded to Harris’ Marine fighter pilot father, Walter “Bucky” Harris, for service in World War II and the Korean War, including the Legion of Merit
  • Two-page handwritten letter from eighteen-year-old Emmylou Harris to the editor of Sing Out!, a quarterly journal of folk music
  • Gibson J-200N acoustic guitar with blonde finish. Given to Harris by Gram Parsons, it became her main guitar for performing and recording.
  • Tunic with fringe and embroidery; blue jeans; and thigh-high, oxblood leather boots, worn by Harris on the cover of her 1975 album Elite Hotel
  • Handwritten lyrics by Paul Kennerley to “Diamond in My Crown” and “White Line.” Both songs were co-written by Harris and Kennerley, and were included on her 1985 album, The Ballad of Sally Rose.
  • Manuel jacket with rose embroidery, rhinestones, and arrowhead smile pockets, worn by Harris on the cover of the album Trio, and in performance with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt.

Interview: Emmylou Harris

Harris will participate in a special program in the museum’s CMA Theater on Sat., Nov. 3, 2018. 

Saturday, November 3, 2018 | 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM

Harris will discuss her upbringing as the child of a prisoner of war, her discovery of country music’s depth and breadth, her work with Americana forerunner Gram Parsons and her remarkable catalog of recordings. CMA Theater. Included with museum admission. Free to museum members. Program will be streamed live at countrymusichalloffame.org/streaming. 


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Exhibit-Related Programming

FRIDAY, October 5th | 10:30am

Family Program: Songwriting 101: Emmylou Harris Style 


SATURDAY, October 6th | 1:00pm

Family Program: Sew Bonaparte's Dog Bandanas


SUNDAY, October 7th | 11:00am 

Film: Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers at the Ryman (1992)


SATURDAY, October 27th 10:30am

Family Program: Singing in Harmony for Beginners 


SATURDAY, October 27th | 11:15am

Family Program: Singing in Harmony for Beginners


SUNDAY, October 28th | 11:00am 

Film: Bobby Bare and Friends with Emmylou Harris and Delbert McClinton (1984)


SATURDAY November 3rd | 2:00pm

Interview: Emmylou Harris 


SUNDAY, November 4th | 11:00am

Film: PBS Soundstage: Emmylou Harris and the Hot Band and Buck White and the Down Home Gang (1978)