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Sweet Dixie
Bill Emerson & Sweet Dixie

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About the video

Bill Emerson and Sweet Dixie perform "Sweet Dixie" at the 2010 Wind Gap
Bluegrass Festival.  Bill Emerson - Banjo, Teri Chism - Bass and Vocals
Wayne Lanham - Mandolin & Vocals, Chris Stifel - Guitar and Vocals

About the artists

Bill Emerson is one of the most influential musicians in bluegrass. He began
playing guitar in 1955 and banjo the following year, which was when he heard a
performance by Uncle Bob & the Blue Ridge Partners on a Rockville, Maryland,
radio station. He was so captivated by their sound that he went to the station to
meet them, and was asked to join them. A few months later, Emerson joined Buzz
Busby and the Bayou Boys. When an auto accident put Busby and some of the
band members out of commission, Emerson and bandmate Charlie Waller
assembled a new band, the Country Gentlemen, to keep their booking at the
Admiral Grill in Bailey's Cross Roads, Virginia. They recorded three singles for
Dixie and Starday, including "High Lonesome"/"Hey Little Girl." In 1958, Emerson
left the Gentlemen to play live gigs with the Stonemans, later playing with Bill
Harrell, Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys, and Red Allen and the
Kentuckians. In 1963, he released the album This World is Not My Home. While
playing with Allen, he recorded a few albums as Bill Emerson and his Virginia
Mountaineers, including Banjo Pickin' n Hot Fiddlin' Country Style. In 1965, he
left Allen's band and rejoined Jimmy Martin's for two albums. Emerson left again
in 1967 and teamed up with Cliff Waldron to form Emerson & Waldron and the
Lee Highway Boys. On Rebel, the group recorded three albums, including
Bluegrass Country. He returned to the Country Gentlemen in 1970, playing club
dates and recording with them until 1972, when he was hit in the arm during a
drive-by shooting as he and the band were leaving the Red Fox Inn in Bethesda,
Maryland. He recovered fully and joined the U.S. Navy Band the next year.

Emerson's 20-year military stint was spent playing music in Washington, D.C.,
doing outside session work, and performing with his country/bluegrass band, the
Country Current. Beginning in 1988, Emerson recorded two solo albums for
Rebel, Home of the Red Fox and Gold Plated Banjo (1991). The previous year,
he was honored by Sterling Banjo Works, who issued a Signature Series of
banjos ("Bill Emerson Red Fox Model") and gear after him. Emerson released his
Reunion album in 1992, which features various lead singers he has worked with
over the years, including Jimmy Martin, Charlie Waller and Tony Rice. He finally
left the Navy in 1993 and has since released a duet album with protégé Wayne
Taylor. Occasionally, Emerson plays reunion concerts with some of the groups
he belonged to, but has declined to rejoin them full-time. ~ Sandra Brennan, All
Music Guide