Passings: Pedal Steel Great Buddy Emmons (1937 - 2015)

Buddy Emmons, one of the greatest pedal steel guitarist to ever play in music, has died at the age of 78.

Word first broke on the Facebook at the Buddy Emmons Fan Page:
Word was just put out in Nashville by several of my friends.

It is a very sad day for us pedal steel guitar players. This is one I did not see coming and I know that you are as shocked as I am.

With a heavy heart I am letting all of you know that Buddy Emmons is no longer amongst us. He was united with his wife Peggy yesterday and I will miss him and always remember him as the biggest pedal steel guitar player that has ever roamed this earth.

His influence on the instrument we so dearly love cannot be described in words.

Rest in Peace my friend.......till we meet again.
Amber Digby followed closely thereafter, saying:
So sad to hear of the Passing of legendary steel player, Buddy Emmons. My family and he go all the way back to the 60s in Nashville. He was Dicky's favorite and definitely one of mine. RIP Big E.
Other reports from friends and associates have continued to be posted around the internet.

Emmons started playing six-string lap steel guitar at the age of 11, studying at the Hawaiian Conservatory of Music in South Bend, IN but, within a year, he started to branch out and learn more about country music.

At the age of 15, he moved up to a Fender Stringmaster steel guitar, playing in local bands. At 16, he quit high school and moved to Calumet City, IL where he became a member of Stony Calhoun's band.  A year later, he moved again, to Detroit and joined up with Casey Clark. It was while he was with Clark that he purchased his first full pedal steel guitar.

In July 1955, Little Jimmy Dickens heard Emmons playing with Clark and invited him, at the age of 18, to join his band. It was while playing with Dickens that the band was spun off into the side project The Country Boys who recorded three sides for Columbia, two of which were written by Emmons.

Emmons also started doing session work in Nashville in 1956 and is credited with originating a major innovation for the pedal steel, splitting the function of the two pedals.

Over the years, he continued extensive studio work while playing with some of country's greatest artists including Ernest Tubb as part of his Texas Troubadours, Ray Price as part of The Cherokee Cowboys and in Roger Miller's and the Everly Brothers' band.

Over the years, Emmons played on hundreds of recordings out of Nashville including work with artists such as Judy Collins (Someday Soon), Bob Dylan, John Sebastian, Linda Ronstadt, Roger McGuinn, Jerry Lee Lewis, Arlo Guthrie and John Conlee. He also recorded a series of solo albums including Steel Guitar Jazz (1963), Steel Guitar (1975), Minors Aloud (1979) and It's All in the Swing with Ray Pennington (1994).

In 2001, Emmons was forced to stop playing due to a repetitive motion injury and, although he recovered, he chose not to return to regular session work.

3 comments

Shanjoy said...

This individual has been usa along with his better half Peggy last night and also I am going to overlook your pet and also bear in mind your pet because the largest pedal metallic beginner guitarist which includes at any time roamed this kind of world.

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Newsome Edward said...

Other steel player Steve Fishell, who cites "The Big E" as a primary inspiration and is presently when driving with Emmylou Harris, summarized Emmons' fatality to Rolling Stone Nation as nothing short of a catastrophe: "It's an imposing loss in the pedal steel area as well as to music enthusiasts almost everywhere."

Newsome Edward said...

Very bad news indeed! I have maybe a dozen or so of Buddy's LPs and CDs, and saw him perform several times at the International Steel Guitar Show in St. Louis. He was truly a superb steel player, and looked up to by just about any steel player you can think of.

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