There is a tendency when someone dies at an early age to overstate their accomplishments, especially if they went from strength to strength to strength, like Gram Parsons did.
But, weirdly enough, as one of the architects of country-rock, it’s possible that Parsons remains an underappreciated figure, especially in terms of his songwriting. Part of this, of course, was that he thrived on collaborations, so he wasn’t ever fully thrust out into the spotlight.
Even the albums which bore his name were full of collaborations, covers and of course, Emmylou Harris.
That said, Harris is nowhere near “She,” the slow-burning story song that was a absolute highlight of GP. It’s also the greatest singing performance that Gram Parsons ever gave in his too-short life.
Which was apropos, given that the subject was a great singer, and when the song gently swings into its chorus, Parsons’ vocals were utterly sublime:
Oh, yes, she sure could sing
Yeah yeah she sure could sing
She had faith, she had believing
She led all the people together in singing
And she prays every night to the Lord up above
There is an infinite amount of beauty in the way his voice breaks on the first “hallelujah,” and how he holds the “luuuuuuuuuuu” on the second one.
The arrangement emphasizes the singing by nearly breaking down at this point, pouring all the focus on his vocals.
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