Emerson, Bill

BILL EMERSON (AND SWEET DIXIE)

  • From Washington, D.C.
  • He is considered of the most influential five-string banjo players in bluegrass music.
  • 1955, first pro job: “Uncle Bob and the Blue Ridge Partners.”
  • 1957, he was a founding member of The Country Gentlemen. He left after a few months and was replaced by Eddie Adcock. Returned to the Country Gentlemen 12 years later.
  • 1958-1969, worked with the Stoneman Family, Red Allen, Jimmy Martin, and Cliff Waldron—in that order.
  • 1966, he and Cliff Waldron recorded the first bluegrass version of the Mannfred Mann song “Fox on the Run.”
  • 1969, returned to The Country Gentlemen.
  • 1973, joined the Navy and played banjo with the U.S. Navy band Country Current (until 1992 when he retired.)
  • 1988, worked with Pete Goble on several projects. Their song “Tennessee 1949” won the IBMA Song of the Year award.
  • 1988, was inducted into the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame.
  • 1994, released a duet album with US Navy band member Wayne Taylor “Appaloosa” (Webco).
  • 1996, released Banjo Man album (Webco/Pinecastle).
  • 1998, recorded and performed with Mark Newton.
  • 2007, came out of retirement to form his Sweet Dixie Band. Released Bill Emerson & The Sweet Dixie Band album (Rebel Records).
  • 2010, released Southern album (Rural Rhythm).
  • 2011, released solo project Eclipse (Rural Rhythm).
  • 2012, released The Touch of Time album (Rural Rhythm).
  • 2014, released Dancin’ Annie album (Rural Rhythm).
  • 2016, received the IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement Award.
  • 2019, formed a group with his son Billy called Emerson 414 (414 is the number on his long-time residence). They released a self-titled EP.
  • 2019, was inducted into the IBMA’s Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.