We invited eight of our favorite musicians and entertainers to pay tribute to the women who have influenced them and their careers for Rolling Stone’s third annual Icons & Influences feature.
Miranda Lambert not only considers Emmylou Harris to be one of her crucial songwriting influences, but she also considers the iconic singer her primary example of what it means to have a long, important career.
“My father exposed me to Emmylou Harris, John Prine, Guy Clark, David Allan Coe, and the entire era. When you hear the voice for the first time as a child, you are old enough to wonder, ‘Why do I feel so warm inside?’”
“I grew up listening to Emmy, but it wasn’t until I started getting into music and thought maybe this is what I want to do with my life that I heard her again.”
“I knew all the phrases by heart, but they didn’t hit me as hard until I got severe about composing around 16 or 17. The first song, I believe, was ‘Two More Bottles of Wine,’ wrote by Delbert McClinton.”
“I’d heard the male version, but her singing affected me harder since I’d gone through this phase of ‘How can I be a badass while remaining feminine?’ Emmy exuded all of these qualities.”
“In a beautiful song like “Boulder to Birmingham,” her performance rips your heart. But then I heard “Two More Bottles of Wine,” and I thought, “This girl is here to party, not take a s**t.” This appeals to me as well.
“What I adore about Emmylou is that I never know which song she created and which she didn’t because she owns whatever she does with grace and heart, which kills me. “Easy From Now On” was another of those songs that, when I was 18, I thought to myself, “This song is life-changing.”
“Because the phrase in that song hit me so hard, I have a gigantic wild card tattooed on my right arm, a queen of hearts: “Don’t worry ’bout me, I got a wild card up my sleeve.” “Can we simply do an ode to that?” I asked as we created my  song “Bluebird.” The sentiment expressed in that song was the same as the emotion expressed in “Easy From Now On.”
“But I don’t know if there’s ever a time when we write a song like that and we don’t bring up Emmy. We inserted a “Roses in the Snow” reference in “I’ll Be Lovin’ You” for [2022’s] Palomino, with Jon Randall, who used to play with Emmylou, and Luke Dick, because we had been talking about Emmylou, of course.”
“I’ve been saying it since 2000, but if I ever have the guts, I’d love to cover “Red Dirt Girl.” That’s one of those tunes that just stopped me in my tracks. When I was 17, I was in the van with my mother, driving around to radio stations and handing out my CD, trying to get anyone to care Loretta Lynn-style. “Red Dirt Girl” came on when we moved to El Paso or wherever we went, and my mom immediately pulled over. It was the most lovely, breathtaking narrative I’d ever heard. So I looked up who wrote it, and it was, of course, her. At that moment, I set a new songwriting standard for myself. “I’m not doing it right,” I thought. Whatever it is, I’m after it.” And I’m still doing it after 23 years.”
“I’ve always said I want a career like Emmy’s since it’s never-ending. She has 26 albums, and none of them are the same. Emmy has this freedom because she can sing with whoever she wants, whenever she wants; she can cover whatever songs she wants and write whatever she wants. It’s incredibly motivating to watch.”