The band is fronted by banjo legend Bill Emerson, with Wayne Lanham on mandolin, Terry Chism on bass and John Miller on guitar.
Emerson has been making waves in the bluegrass world since the 1960s. He toured and recorded as a member of Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys, and was featured (along with J.D. Crowe) on Martin’s groundbreaking CD, Big & Country Instrumentals in 1967. Bill had been a founding member of The Country Gentlemen, and returned to work with them in the 1970s. His early recordings with Cliff Waldron had a major influence on the second generation of bluegrass artists, and his enlistment into the US Navy as a musician helped launch the use of bluegrass music in the Navy band Country Current, a tradition that continues to this day.
Bill retired from the Navy after 20 years in 1993, and though he did some work with Wayne Taylor, had largely fully retired by 2000. In 2007 he returned with Sweet Dixie, who maintains a fairly active touring schedule, primarily along the east coast.
This next Sweet Dixie CD is still being recorded, but a debut single, I Don’t Care Anymore, will be released at IBMA next month. It will also appear on the next edition of Fresh Cuts & Key Tracks, Rural Rhythm’s radio sampler.
UPDATE 6:30 p.m. – We just heard from Bill with a few more details about the new album…
“The new CD includes me, Wayne Lanham, Teri Chism and Tom Adams. John Miller started out playing as a guest on one instrumental, which is an original by Janet Davis that she and I play together. Since John is now a member of the band, he will be singing a song and playing on one of my instrumentals as well.
Rickie Simpkins and Frank Solivan guest on fiddles, and I am hiring a fiddle player in September.”