13 February 2022

Continuing legacies of two giants of bluegrass

In the 66th weekly newsletter from Bluegrass Unlimited magazine, among other good things Dan Miller completes the special series on the late Bill Emerson with an article on the last five years, between Emerson's retirement from touring and his death on 21 Aug. last year. There is substantial input from his youngest son, Billy, and others who remember him as 'the nicest guy that you’d ever want to know'. A bonus is that Dan Miller hopes that the series will become the foundation for a full biography of Bill Emerson. The photo image above is taken from this final article.

Further good news comes from John Lawless on Bluegrass Today, and it concerns Doyle Lawson (friend of Bill Emerson, bandmate when they were both in the Country Gentlemen in the early 1970s, and source of the words quoted above about him). Following his retirement from touring with a band at the end of 2021, Lawson will - among other activities - be contributing a regular weekly column to Bluegrass Today under the title 'The school of bluegrass' (echoing the title of his 1999 compilation album, A school of bluegrass). John Lawless writes:

He is ready to address inquiries about the many bands he toured and recorded with, the large group of bluegrass contemporaries he has known, and the dozens of recordings he has made over a professional career getting close to 60 years’ duration. You ask... he’ll answer. We hope to have the first edition of School of Bluegrass with Doyle Lawson within the next two weeks.

This should go far to make up for the loss of 'Ask Sonny anything', the weekly treat of bluegrass history, banjo talk, personal memoir, and frankly expressed opinion that ended after two-and-a-half years with the passing of Sonny Osborne last October.

© Richard Hawkins

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