The Story Behind The Song: “Beneath Still Waters” – Emmylou Harris

Harris discovered the song through a George Jones “tape swap.” While Emmylou was living in Washington, D. C., she became acquainted with a group of people who traded tapes of George Jones songs the way sports fans would trade baseball cards. She received “Beneath Still Waters” during one such trade. To her, the song seemed so classic – so simple and straightforward, the imagery was beautiful and the melody was so lovely. Harris recorded it in her home studio in Los Angeles, going with the second take which she considered “perfect.” Apparently, fans thought so too, as “Beneath Still Waters” became Emmylou’s 11th Top Ten hit and her fourth number one single on May 10, 1980.

The “Blue Kentucky Girl” album brought Harris the second of her three Grammies for “Best Country Vocal Performance by a Female.” The others came for “Elite Hotel” and her 1984 single, “In My Dreams.” She also earned Grammies for her duet with Roy Orbison, “That Lovin’ You Feelin’ Again,” and for the “Trio” project (with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt).

Following “Blue Kentucky Girl,” Emmylou delved even more heavily into bluegrass sonorities, with the help of Ricky Skaggs, on the album “Roses In The Snow.” The project received overwhelming critical acclaim, yielding two successful singles: “Wayfaring Stranger” and “The Boxer.”


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