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Big Country

Try as she might, Emmylou Harris can't leave behind her roots

Harris has lived in Nashville for the past two decades but tends to keep the company of musicians who pride themselves on their distance from the musical mainstream -- Steve Earle, Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams. They share in common an attachment to country music's roots, along with the kind of liberal outlook that motivated Harris earlier this year to add her name to a full-page New York Times ad against the war in Iraq. "We live in Nashville with a little 'n.' There's this other Nashville that comes up with the slick Muzak that is presented to the public. And then there are all these interesting songwriters and artists that are living there and have their own little network. It's actually a great place to live. I've become quite enamored of my funny little hometown."

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