Bill Emerson

Photo by Frank Baker

Bill Emerson — The Final Years

Although Bill Emerson decided to stop performing on stage in 2016—after a career that lasted over sixty years—he was not done recording in the studio.  In 2015, Bill had contributed to Epilogue: A Tribute to John Duffey (produced by Akira Otsuka and Ronnie Freeland) by performing on the cut of “If I Were A Carpenter.” …

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Bill Emerson and Sweet Dixie

In the early part of the new century, Bill Emerson was not as active in musical pursuits as he had been since he first picked up a banjo in the mid-1950s.  When he did decide to get back to recording and performing music, he called on Wayne Taylor, Pat White, and Joe Wheatley—all from the…

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Bill Emerson’s Bluegrass Life After the Navy

When Bill Emerson retired from the Navy in 1993, at the age of 55, he was far from retiring from his life in bluegrass music.  He continued to record and perform with various artists and then he later started his band, Bill Emerson and Sweet Dixie.   In an interview conducted by John Lawless and…

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Bill Emerson’s Work Outside of the Navy (1973-1993)

Although Bill Emerson joined the United States Navy at the end of May, 1973 to perform with the Navy’s bluegrass and country band Country Current, he did not completely cut himself off from the bluegrass world outside of the Navy.  Examining Emerson’s discography, it does appear that he focused primarily on his Navy duties between…

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Bill Emerson Joins the US Navy

By the end of 1972, the Country Gentlemen—with Charlie Waller, Bill Emerson, Doyle Lawson, and Bill Yates—had become the most popular band in bluegrass music.  However, in early 1973 the US Navy proposed to Bill Emerson an offer that he could not refuse and he left the Country Gentlemen to join the Navy and become…

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Bill Emerson—The Country Gentlemen: Round Two

Bill Emerson was a founding member of the Country Gentlemen.  The band formed in 1957 as a trio with Bill Emerson on the banjo, John Duffey on the mandolin, and Charlie Waller playing guitar.  After a short time they added Larry Lahey on bass.  The group originally came together to hold a weekly spot at…

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