Special Series

Bill Emerson—Staying Home in the Washington, D.C. Area (1966-1970)

After playing on the road with Jimmy Martin off-and-on for five years, Bill Emerson decided that he had had enough of the intense road travel.  He still wanted to play music, but he did not want to be out on the road quite as much as being a member of Jimmy Martin and the Sunny…

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Bill Emerson with Jimmy Martin (1961-1966)

At the end of the last installment of this series, Bill Emerson was working with Red Allen and Frank Wakefield.  Regarding that experience, in an interview conducted by Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine in 1992, Bill said, “Red Allen and Frank Wakefield came to town and were looking for a banjo player. We did a lot of…

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Bill Emerson: Between the Country Gentlemen and Jimmy Martin (1958-1962)

By the fall of 1958, Bill Emerson was ready to exit the Country Gentlemen, a band that he helped found and would become one of the most iconic bands in bluegrass music.  Emerson would return to the Country Gentlemen just over a decade later, but in the late 1950s the speculation is that the Country…

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Bill Emerson and the Birth of the Country Gentlemen

After Buzz Busby’s band, minus Bill Emerson, was in a tragic car crash on the 29th of June, 1957, Busby was in a coma for about a day and a half.  When he awoke, Bill Emerson went to visit him in the hospital and Buzz requested that Bill put together a band to cover their…

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A teenage Bill Emerson plays at a venue with Link Wray and the Palomino Ranch Hands

Bill Emerson — The Early Years

William Hundley “Bill” Emerson, Jr. was born in Washington, D.C. on January 22nd, 1938.  He was raised in Bethesda, Maryland.  His father, William Hundley Emerson, Sr. (1898-1963) was married to the former Texas native Netty Louise Price (1911-1997) and owned a Buick dealership on 17th and M Street in Washington, D.C. called Emerson & Orme. …

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Photo Courtesy of Mike Scott

Bluegrass Banjo Players honor Bill Emerson

As most bluegrass music fans will know by now, legendary bluegrass banjo player—and Bluegrass Hall of Fame member—Bill Emerson passed away in August of 2021.  In order to honor Bill’s tremendous contribution to bluegrass music—starting in the mid-1950s and continuing through the date of his passing—we will be featuring a series of special web-based articles…

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