“I’d started to doubt the Gram Parsons myth, but I could still feel its narcotic lull.”
Like many white Xennials, I learned about Gram Parsons late at night in a college dorm room, stoned and listening to somebody’s hippie parents’ records. Parsons played in the Byrds and taught the Rolling Stones about country music. He killed his pain with drugs and Jesus and wore bright Nudie suits sequined with tributes to such narcotics. He sang gorgeous duets with the gorgeous Emmylou Harris. He overdosed on booze and morphine in Joshua Tree in 1973, a couple months shy of his twenty-seventh birthday. His road manager stole his body from the coroner and burned it in the desert. He played country soul, but he called it Cosmic American Music.