Thursday, 30 July 2015

Buddy Emmons steel guitar player dies aged 78.

Buddy Emmons (27 Jan 1937 - 28 July 2015) 

Buddy Emmons MONTAGE - Click to ENLARGE

(b. January 27, 1937, in Mishawaka, Indiana; d. July 28, 2015)

Buddy Emmons, one of the most important and influential steel guitar players has died aged 78.
As an American musician he played several instruments, most notably pedal steel guitar.
Mr. Emmons was called "The World's Foremost Steel Guitarist" and his talent was greatly admired by fellow steel guitarists.
His musical versatility spanned genres such as country, swing, jazz, folk, and country-rock, and he has performed or recorded with a wide variety of vocalists and musicians including Judy Collins, Linda Ronstadt, Ernest Tubb, John Hartford, The Everly Brothers and Ray Price (Buddy Emmons & Ray Price “Nightlife” >> YouTube)

Just some of Mr.Emmons numerous album credits include:
1962: Night Life Ray Price: Composer, Guest Artist, Guitar (Steel)
1965: Country Willie: His Own Songs Willie Nelson: Composer ("Are You Sure")
1968: Who Knows Where the Time Goes Judy Collins: Guitar (Steel),
1970: John B. Sebastian John Sebastian: Guitar (Steel), Moog Synthesizer, Pedal Steel, Performer
1971: The North Star Grassman and the Ravens Sandy Denny: Guitar (Steel; "Crazy Lady Blues")
1971: Linda Ronstadt Linda Ronstadt: Guest Artist, Guitar (Steel;"In My Reply", "I Ain't Always Been Faithful")
1973: Now & Then Carpenters: Guitar, Guitar (Steel), Slide Guitar
1973: GP Gram Parsons: Guitar (Steel; "She," "That's All ItTook," and "New Soft Shoe”)
1974: Country Gentleman Henry Mancini: Guitar (Steel)
1978: Waylon & Willie Waylon Jennings: Guitar (Steel)
1984: Friendship Ray Charles:  Guitar (Steel)
1985:  It's Just a Matter of Time Glen Campbell: Guitar (Steel)
1991: Bing Bang Boom Highway 101: Guitar (Steel)
1992: Hearts in Armor Trisha YearwoodGuitar (Steel; track 8 "For Reasons I've Forgotten")
1992: Holding My Own George Strait: Guitar (Steel; (tracks: 3, 9)
1992: Above All Hermann Lammers Meyer: Pedal Steel
2006: These Days Vince Gill: Guitar (Steel; The Country & Western Record)
2015: Pageant Material Kacey Musgraves: Composer (hidden track) #

# Nelson wrote the song with Buddy Emmons decades ago. It first appeared on his 1965 album Country Willie - His Own Songs under the title "Are You Sure." In 2013, Musgraves revealed via Facebook that she was a big fan of the song, calling it "two minutes and 13 seconds of the realest sh*t you'll ever hear. Never gets old."

About Buddy Emmons
Buddy Emmons earned a place among Nashville's elite as one of the finest steel guitar players in the business. Born in Mishawaka, IN, he first fell in love with the instrument at age 11 when he received a six-string lap steel guitar as a gift from his father who signed him up for lessons.
As a teen, he enrolled at the Hawaiian Conservatory of Music in South Bend, IN, and began playing professionally in Calumet City and Chicago at age 16. In 1956, Emmons went to Detroit to fill in for Walter Haynes during a performance with Little Jimmy Dickens; soon afterward he was invited to join Dickens' Country Boys.
He appeared with them a few times on The Grand Ole Opry and recorded with them on a few singles, including "Buddy's Boogie" (1957). He also recorded a pair of solo singles for Columbia, "Cold Rolled Steel" (1956) and "Silver Bells" (1957).

In the late '50s, Emmons began playing occasionally with Ernest Tubb's band on Midnight Jamboree. In 1963, he began a five-year stint with Ray Price & the Cherokee Cowboys, and in 1965 teamed up with fellow steel player Shot Jackson to record the LP Steel Guitar & Dobro Sound. 
This led the two to create the Sho-Bud Company, which sold an innovative steel guitar that used push-rod pedals.

Buddy Emmons performs “Four Wheel Drive” on the Bobby Lord Show (WSM-TV, a weekly syndicated half-hour program) in 1965.

In 1969, Emmons joined Roger Miller's Los Angeles-based band as a bass player. When not touring with Miller, he did session work for a variety of artists. He quit Miller's band in 1973 and signed a solo contract, releasing several albums in the late '70s.
After 1978, Emmons began playing for a number of small labels, where he and Ray Pennington occasionally collaborated with some of Nashville's finest sidemen as the Swing Shift Band.

In 1978 the 7 track set MINORS ALOUD (Flying Fish) was released, recorded August 7–8, 1978 at Pete's Place, Nashville, TN with Canadian guitarist Lenny Breau. 
Writing for Allmusic, music critic Paul Kohler wrote: “In this second meeting between pedal steel guitarist Buddy Emmons and jazz guitarist Lenny Breau, they find common ground as they venture through a session mixing jazz standards and original compositions, accompanied by keyboardist Randy Goodrum, bassist Charles Dungey, and drummer Kenny Malone. "Minors Aloud" is a mid-tempo blues jointly written by Emmons and Breau, though all of the individual solos are rather perfunctory.

In 1993, Emmons began touring with the Everly Brothers spending 10 years playing with them and was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 1981.
He continued to play in recording sessions throughout the '90s and into the new millennium (with Ray Price, Willie Nelson and Johnny Bush) and also was an occasional player on Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion., but was forced to stop playing around 2001 due to a repetitive motion injury. Emmons fully recovered but decided not to return to regular session work, preferring to record only with selected artists and to perform intermittently.

Mr. Emmon’s Oral History interview dated July 20, 2002:

On August 26, 2013 MPI Records released The Big E: A Salute To Steel Guitarist Buddy Emmons (16 Tracks / Time: 56:49  CD - MP3)

Buddy gave his blessing to the set, produced by steel guitarist and Grammy-winning producer Steve Fishell, a onetime member of Emmylou Harris's famous Hot Band. On it, a slew of current steel guitar masters reprise various songs from Emmons's long career. 
This was a Kickstarter crowd funded The Steve Fishell project which grossed $12,000 (136 backers $11,967 pledged of $10,000 goal. One Kickstarter pledge came from Warner Music Nashville president John Esposito, who eventually set up national distribution through Warner. Esposito at heart a music fan was well aware of Emmons’ indelible mark on American music. Mr. Emmons was not involved in the creation or promotion of the tribute album and by all accounts he remained thankful to James Cecil Dickens for bringing him into the big time.

The late Little Jimmy Dickens sang “When Your House Is Not a Home,” a song Emmons used to perform with Ray Price, and one that reminded the steel player of his late and beloved wife, Peggy. The big time remained thankful to Emmons. The 16 song set featured instrumental wizardry from steelers Fishel (Left in Facebook photo at Sound Emporium Studio "A" in Nashville, June 2013), Doug Jernigan, Greg Leisz, JayDee Maness, Paul Franklin, Tommy White, Roosevelt Collier, Mike Johnson, Randle Currie, Norm Hamlett, Gary Carter and Dan Dugmore, as well as electric guitar from Duane Eddy and Albert Lee and vocal turns from singers included Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Willie Nelson, Raul Malo, Chris Stapleton and Joanie Keller.  

Track 3 “Blue Jade” by Duane Eddy (feat. Dan Dugmore) from The Big E was a popular play on Bob Harris Country on BBC Radio 2, add to BBC Playlister 

[see MPI 535494-2 feature ; Warner Music Nashville]

Related POST :
Peter Cooper On Music (published by The Tennessean; Aug 25, 2013) A salute to steel guitar pioneer Buddy Emmons

Buddy Emmons MEDIA:
Listen to
* Note the application must be installed and open *
The Big E: A Salute To Steel Guitarist Buddy Emmons on SPOTIFY

Listen to Buddy accompany the late Ernest Tubb and George Jones on the song "Half a Mind".
It was track 7 drawn from the album Ernest Tubb: The Legend and the Legacy.

This 1979 Honky Tonk set featured E.T. singing with country music giants such as Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and many more. 
Available on Amazon UK and CD BABY and for streaming on SPOTIFY
Buddy Emmons Spotify - Artist Page
Buddy Emmons STEEL GUITAR compliation Amazon UK

Audio: “No One Will Ever Know” >> YouTube

Country Music Hall of Fame: The Big E: Salute to Buddy Emmons
Buddy explains how he imagined the "diatonic" strings - which
he added to the E9th tuning in 1962 (Country Music Hall of Fame)
Ford Theatre in Nashville 21st Sept 2013

Watch the "guitar legend" Mr. Buddy Emmons, whose staggering, soulful technique set standards by which countless steel players measure themselves today being honored in this 1 hour 37 min >> program of interviews and performances (first published on 10 Jan 2014).
Buddy Emmons perform >> "Night Life" from a show in Atlanta, GA in 1980, made famous by Ray Price.

Buddy’s third wife Peggy died in 2007 his granddaughter Nikia died in 2004. Peggy, brought twin girls, Debbie and Diana, from her first marriage.
Mr. Emmons is survived by two granddaughters Crystal and Brittany, and two grandsons, Levon and Buddie III.
Sources and Obituaries: CMTBillboardSaving Country Music
Photos 1950 - 2000s Fun Stuff Page - Facebook Salute Page  - Steel Guitar Forum

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