Three decades ago, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and Linda Ronstadt made musical history with the release of the Grammy-winning Trio album. The disc spawned the Billboard chart-topping Country hit “To Know Him Is To Love Him,” in addition to the top ten hits “Those Memories Of You,” “Wildflowers,” and the Grammy-winning “Telling Me Lies.” The success and reach of the album was so strong that it inspired a 1999 follow-up, Trio II.

Fans of all three of the iconic female vocalists can now celebrate one final release in the Trio series. Dropping last week, Rhino Records released The Complete Trio Collection, a three-disc set that ties together remastered versions of the 1987 and 1999 albums, but also includes another disc of rarities and unreleased takes on many of the songs that fans have come to know over the past 30 years.

Watch the lyric video below of ‘Wildflowers.’

“It’s nice to have it all together,” said Parton. “I just think we all take such pride in this. I know that for me, this will always stand as one of the greatest musical things that I’ve done in my entire life. I’ve never been prouder of anything else. I love these girls like sisters, but what we did as ‘The Trio’ will stand up long after we’re all gone.”

Disc one is a remastered version of the original Trio album. Released in the spring of 1987, the set went on to sell over four million copies. Produced by the award-winning George Massenburg, Ronstadt says the ladies could not have made a better choice in the role of producer.

“He was just great at listening and at carrying out a whim. The music ideas would come from us, and he would keep us from getting into a muddle and going off in twenty-nine different directions. He has the best way of recording acoustic instruments – where they still sounded natural, but they sounded at their best. He was really an invaluable partner, in that he really didn’t interfere with us. He let things develop, and just kept things organized.”

Disc two is an updated version of the second Trio album, released in January 1999. The set – highlighted by such emotional tracks as “The Blue Train” and “Feels Like Home,” also includes a nod to The Carter Family’s historic “Lover’s Return” and Parton’s own “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind.” Just like its’ predecessor, Trio 2 was a commercial and critical success, being certified Gold and also winning a Grammy.

The treasure of The Complete Trio Collection is the third disc of the collection. A twenty-cut collection of outtakes and unreleased tracks from the original 1986 and 1994 sessions, the set features never-before-heard versions of songs such as “Farther Along” and “Wildflowers,” which is notable for its’ more up-tempo arrangement. The collection also is highlighted by the soaring harmonies of “Grey Funnel Love” and the groove of “You Don’t Knock.” There is also a stunning acapella version of “Calling My Children Home,” as well as the historic cuts of “Even Cowgirls Get The Blues” and “Mister Sandman,” which are generally regarded as the recordings that began the Trio process.

Hearing the music as a collective unit was a moment that Harris said she would treasure. “When I heard it, I remembered we did that, but I had forgotten how great it was. It was like a Christmas present that you forgot to open, and you finally get to discover.”

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