Bill Emerson and DC fest on WAMU

As we’ve mentioned before, Bill Emerson is set to be honored this Saturday with the very first Washington Monument Award from the DC Bluegrass Union during their first bluegrass festival on March 27.

The award will be given annually to DC-area musicians who have been instrumental in shaping the direction of bluegrass music nationwide, and Bill commented on receiving this tribute in our earlier piece.

In advance of the award being presented, Bob Webster at WAMU in DC has produced a piece on Emerson which includes a lengthy interview with Bill, and comments from several other Washington-area artists with whom he has worked over the years. It will air on Thursday (3/26) from 6:00-8:00 p.m. on, and again on Sunday (3/28) during the 3:00-6:00 p.m. slot (EDT).

Webster gave us a brief overview of the contents of his piece, along with a short bit of audio.

“Bill and I covered his pre-Buzz Busby days, the Country Gentlemen, Emerson & Waldron, his work with Red Allen, the Navy Country Current days and up to his current band – Sweet Dixie.  You’ll hear comments from Pete Kuykendall, Paul Williams, Larry Stephenson, Cliff Waldron and several others.”

Here’s Emerson on the formation of the Country Current, and how it almost included every member of the Country Gentlemen, including a young Ricky Skaggs:

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You’ll have to tune in Friday or Sunday to hear the rest.

Bill is not only a banjo player of the first order, he’s a gifted storyteller as well. Given where he’s been and what he’s seen in bluegrass, this should be a memorable program.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.