Jem Aswad Executive Editor, Music Of the many premature deaths from the wave of great ‘60s musicians, Gram Parsons is one of the most tragic.
A deeply gifted singer and songwriter, he’s universally (if not entirely accurately) regarded as the patron saint of Americana music.
His pioneering fusions of the then-polarized genres of rock and country survive in just a handful of studio albums with the International Submarine Band, the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers and his final two sets with his own Fallen Angels, but he’s cast a long shadow over the half-century since his death.
He singlehandedly brought country into the Rolling Stones’ sound (a result of his unhealthy friendship with Keith Richards); Emmylou Harris, who sang harmony with him on those solo albums, has burned a candle for him for her entire subsequent career; and it’s safe to say that artists from the Eagles to Wilco, from Elvis Costello to Lucinda Williams, from Steve Earle to Dwight Yoakam and thousands of others would not sound the way they do without his influence.Read more on variety.com
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