Hi... I'm Leona
you to join me at the Texas Troubadour Theatre on Saturday night
at 10:00 PM for the taping of 3,566th
broadcast of the Midnite Jamboree.
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longest running radio show in history. Admission is free.
here Saturday night at Midnight Central Time for the AUDIO
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here 24/7 to hear the Radio Air Castle of the South - WSM. Home
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HOSTESS OF THE
"The Big E"
Passes at Age 78
Emmons playing "Night Life"
Pedal steel guitar innovator Buddy Emmons has died at
the age of 78. Nicknamed The Big E for his
height, Mr. Emmons, a member of the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame,
played with some of country musics finest, including Little
Jimmy Dickens, Ernest Tubb and Ray Price, and
his work forever changed the genre. The number of musicians he
influenced over the past half-century is immeasurable.
Buddy Emmons was truly a musical genius, says
Eddie Stubbs, WSM DJ and "Grand Ole Opry" announcer.
He had an unbelievable gift and was so forward thinking.
He was placed here at a pivotal time, when the pedal steel guitar
was a relatively new instrument. He took it to another level and
expanded (the instruments) boundaries.
Buddy Gene Emmons was born on Jan. 27, 1937, in Mishawaka,
Ind. His father bought him his first lap steel guitar at the age
of 11, and the young boy quickly took to the instrument. Soon
his parents noticed his musical aptitude and bought him a triple-neck
At 16, Mr. Emmons dropped out of school, then moved to Detroit
to play in Casey Clarks band. It was in this city
that country music star Little Jimmy Dickens discovered
him in the summer of 1955; by the July Fourth weekend of that
year, Mr. Emmons was making his "Grand Ole Opry"
debut as part of Dickens backing band, the Country Boys.
With Mr. Emmons and guitarists Spider Wilson and Howard
Rhoten, the band "reached its zenith," Stubbs said
after Wilson's death in March.
In 1956, Dickens dissolved his band, and Mr. Emmons found a job
as part of Ernest Tubb's Texas Troubadours. His crying
pedal steel licks were an integral element of songs such as Tubb's
1958 hit single "Half a Mind."
Not only was Mr. Emmons a stunning musician, he also was a remarkable
innovator, and would frequently tinker with his steel guitars,
experimenting with different tunings and pioneering the split-pedal
setup, which can be heard on "Half a Mind." Mr.
Emmons and musician Shot Jackson formed the Sho-Bud
Guitar Co. in 1956. Less than a decade later, hed leave
Sho-Bud and create the Emmons Guitar Co. with Ron Lashley.
Mr. Emmons left Tubbs band in 1962 and joined Ray Prices
Cherokee Cowboys, taking the spot of pedal steel player Jimmy
Day. Hed play on classic albums such as Prices
Night Life" and "Touch My Heart."
After five years in Price's band, Mr. Emmons took a job as the
bass player for Roger Miller, who was based in Los Angeles
at the time. While living in California, he also found session
work for a number of artists, including Ray Charles, the
Everly Brothers, Linda Ronstadt and Gram Parsons.
Mr. Emmons also was a talented songwriter. He and Willie Nelson
co-wrote Are You Sure; this song was recently
recorded by Kacey Musgraves for her 2015 album, Pageant
Material. He recorded several solo albums over the course
of his career as well. His 1963 release Steel Guitar
Jazz was the first jazz record featuring pedal steel.
He'd later join forces with Ray Pennington to form the
Swing Shift Band; they'd release a handful of records together.
Hed return to Nashville in the mid-70s and would
continue doing session work for some of country musics top
artists through the 1980s and 90s, including George Strait,
Willie Nelson, Trisha Yearwood and John Anderson.
In the late 1980s, he also accepted an offer to tour with the
Everly Brothers, and hed remain with them for 12
Mr. Emmons retired from music after the death of his wife, Peggy,
in 2007, whom he had married in 1967.
Songs Buddy Emmons played on include:
Ernest Tubb, Half a Mind
Faron Young, Sweet Dreams
Ray Price, Night Life, You Took Her Off