For Rolling Stone’s third annual Icons and Influences feature, we asked eight of our favorite performers from the music and entertainment industries to pay tribute to the women who have shaped them personally and professionally. Emmylou Harris is not only one of Miranda Lambert’s major songwriting influences, but she also views the legendary performer as the best example of what it looks like to have a successful, lengthy career. “My father introduced me to artists like Emmylou Harris, John Prine, Guy Clark, David Allan Coe, and the entire era. When you first hear the voice as a child, you are old enough to ask, “Why do I feel so warm inside? “.
“I grew up listening to Emmy, but I didn’t hear her again until I got into music and thought perhaps this is what I want to do with my life. “.
I had memorized every phrase, but until I became serious about writing, around the age of 16 or 17, they didn’t strike me as strongly. Two More Bottles of Wine, a song by Delbert McClinton, was, I think, the first track. “I’d heard the male version, but Emmy’s singing had a bigger impact on me because she embodied everything I was trying to figure out about how to be a badass while still being feminine. “.
“Her performance tears your heart in a beautiful song like ‘Boulder to Birmingham. Then I heard “Two More Bottles of Wine,” and I remember thinking, “This girl is here to party, not take a s**t. Also, I find this appealing. I love Emmylou because she owns everything she does with grace and heart, which makes it impossible for me to tell which songs she wrote and which ones she didn’t. The song “Easy From Now On” was another one that, when I was 18, made me think, “This song is changing my life. I have a huge wild card, a queen of hearts, tattooed on my right arm because the line from that song that struck me so hard is: “Don’t worry ’bout me, I got a wild card up my sleeve. I questioned as we were writing my  song “Bluebird, “Can we just do an ode to that. In both songs, “Easy From Now On” and that one, the sentiment was the same. “.
“However, I doubt that we’ve ever written a song like that without mentioning Emmy. We made a “Roses in the Snow” allusion in “I’ll Be Lovin’ You” for [2022’s] Palomino, featuring Luke Dick and Jon Randall, who used to perform with Emmylou, of course, since we had been talking about Emmylou. I’ve been wanting to cover “Red Dirt Girl” since 2000, but I’ve never had the guts to do it. That is one of those songs that just made me stop in my tracks. When I was 17, I was riding around in my mother’s van with my CD in hand, trying to get people to pay attention Loretta Lynn-style. As soon as “Red Dirt Girl” started playing when we moved to El Paso or wherever we went, my mother pulled over. I had never heard a story so beautiful and breathtaking. I then looked up the author, and it was obviously her. I immediately raised my bar for myself as a songwriter. I felt like I wasn’t doing it correctly. I’m after it, whatever it may be. After 23 years, I’m still at it. “I’ve always said that because Emmy’s career never ends, I want one too. Every single one of her 26 albums is unique. Emmy enjoys this freedom because she is free to perform whenever and with whomever she chooses, to cover any song, and to pen whatever she pleases. Watching it is incredibly inspiring. “.