Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris – We’ll Sweep Out The Ashes In The Morning

6th January 2024 · 1970s, 1973, Country, Music

Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris were never romantically involved but when they sang together their voices made the sweetest love. Never more so than on this song.

I’d always assumed they were a couple but they never were, not least because Emmy was raising a daughter all the time they were working together from 1972-73.

In fact, by the time she teamed up with the new kid on the block in 1972 she was already a divorced single mum with a daughter called Hallie, and was thinking of giving up music after releasing an album of folk songs. He also had a daughter, born in 1968, and was still married.

By 1971, a year after her daughter was born and her album came out, her label had folded and she was living on food stamps and working as a waitress in a singles bar in Washington D.C.

It was while juggling motherhood, music and waitressing that good fortune intervened when her daughter’s babysitter was in a bar one night when she overheard Parsons, fresh from leaving The Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers, discussing his desire for a harmony singer with his friends.

About to strike out on his own as a solo artist, he went to see her sing and a year after that and, when he was ready to begin recording in Los Angeles a year later, he sent her a plane ticket to LA to record harmony vocals for his debut album G.P.

The album was a flop at the time but they struck up an immediate musical connection and Emmy went on tour with Gram before singing on his next album Grievous Angel, now regarded as a cult classic.

He never got to enjoy its success though; he died just weeks after it was completed and the distraught Emmylou decided to switch styles from folk to country in his honour.