Three's a Charm

February 1999

Emmylou Harris When she was on the road with Gram Parsons in 1973, a young Emmylou Harris bonded with Linda Ronstadt over their mutual admiration for country queen Dolly Parton. Fourteen years later, the three women joined forces and released Trio, an instant classic. Now these three sisters of song are ready for another round, with the long-awaited Trio II. Always on the go, Harris took time off from promoting her live album Spyboy to talk about the new record and why these three superstar voices sound so humble together. - SG

OUT: Trio II was recorded in 1995. Why did it take so long for its release?

EMMYLOU HARRIS: We thought we were going to do a big tour, which we didn't do for the first record, but the scheduling thing is always a problem. We actually started working on the first album back in the '70s, and the same thing happened [laughs]. It's hard enough for one person to get her life together; when you make it three, it's just that much more difficult.

OUT: Did you tinker with it at all?

HARRIS: No. It's like a snapshot of what we looked like four years ago, what we sounded like, what we were into. There's no reason to go back and mess around with that.

OUT: Superstar collaborations of this nature can sound contrived. But all of your voices come together so naturally here.

HARRIS: We just have the sister kind of sound. We all love singing harmony. There's none of this "I need another song." We bring a bunch of songs to the table, and we vote. Then we try all the different combinations: everybody singing lead, different harmonies, different voicings. We see what sounds best. It's never a contest; it's about the joy of hearing each other singing.

OUT: What's up next for you?

HARRIS: I'm doing a record with Linda now.

OUT: When's that one due?

HARRIS: Soon [laughs]. Hopefully soon.