Beginning with his work with the Byrds, Gram Parsons was one of the most influential musicians of the rock era, combining country with rock and paving the way for the countrified Rolling Stones, the Eagles and countless others, including the new wave of alternative country, bands such as Uncle Tupelo, Wilco and Whiskeytown. After Sweetheart of the Rodeo, which added pedal steel and fiddle to the Byrd's jangling, twelve-string sound, Parsons left the band with Chris Hillman to form the Flying Burrito Bros. and record the masterpiece The Gilded Palace of Sin. Along with Sneeky Pete Kleinow on pedal steel and Chris Etheridge on bass, Parsons crafted a beautiful album full of rock 'n' roll grit and soaring country harmonies.
Neither Parsons nor Hillman had perfect voices, but taken together they sound quite good. Most of the songs on this album are Parsons/Hillman originals, but Do Right Woman and Dark End of the Street are both given a pedal steel-laden treatment, with excellent results. There isn't a bad song on this album, which ranges in feel from the rockin' Christine's Tune,the mellow, loping Do You Know How It Feels, the sorrowful Juanita and the gospel-tinged Hippie Boy. The musicianship is high quality throughout, especially Sneeky Pete's pedal steel, which is occasionally fed through a fuzz box, giving a quite unique sound. The Gilded Palace of Sin is a near perfect album that belongs in the collection of any serious music fan.
Gram Parsons would go on to release two excellent solo albums, GP and Grievous Angel, which also introduced the world to the wonderful Emmylou Harris, before his untimely death in 1973. And if you like his music I would highly recommend The Return of the Grievous Angel, and tribute to Gram featuring Emmylou Harris, Beck, Wilco, The Pretenders, The Cowboy Junkies and many more.