Country music has lost another legendary session man. The phenomenal Buddy Emmons has died.
Emmons, a Steel Guitar Hall of Famer who began work with Little Jimmy Dickens and moved on through generations of country music greats, died today(7/29).
Born in Indiana in 1937, Emmons joined the Nashville chapter of the Musicians' Union when he was 18. His work on the steel guitar permeated many of the legendary recordings of the 1950's, starting with Little Jimmy Dickens in early 1956. The steel he played on Ray Price's recordings has thrilled fans and influenced musicians who followed. The haunting fills Emmons played on Price's classic "Night Life," written by Willie Nelson, still stands as one of the most admired and loved songs featuring steel guitar in country music.
Emmons' influence didn't end on the recordings or the stage, either. He co-founded Sho-Bud with Shot Jackson in 1956. The company was the first to manufacture the upstart pedal steel guitar, now considered "standard" in country music.
Emmons continued to work with the likes of George Strait and Ricky Skaggs until no longer able to play full-time due to repetitive motion injuries in the early 2000's.
His legacy is long and far-reaching. His playing was unique and influential. There will never be another like Buddy Emmons.
He was 78.