Monday, February 23, 2009

Dan Penn and Bobby Emmons at Upcoming Eighth Annual Ponderosa Stomp in New Orleans - April 2009

Dan Penn and Bobby Emmons (and an unflattering post-surgery shot of me
between them) at Ft. Payne, Alabama's Boom Days Festival in Sept. 2008

New Orleans' Eighth Annual Ponderosa Stomp, celebrating the unsung heroes of American Music, boasts among its many featured performers in this year’s vast and varied lineup Memphis Boy keyboardist Bobby Emmons and American Studios songwriter/producer and R&B master Dan Penn. This year’s Stomp is set for April 28-29.

Bobby Emmons backed Elvis 40 years ago during his 1969 American Studios sessions, but his musical contributions go so much deeper as not only a member of the legendary Memphis Boys, but also as a successful songwriter. The Corinth, Mississippi native is a Hammond organ virtuoso and his unforgettable work on “Kentucky Rain” evokes for the listener a certain chill of striding in the cold rain right alongside Elvis. In addition to playing on some 122 hits generated under American Studios' roof from 1967 to 1971, he was also a member of the Bill Black Combo.

Emmons continued to excel in Nashville beginning in the early 1970s as a session player and lyricist, working with a parade of Country Music royalty. Among his many songwriting triumphs are "Help Me Make It To My Rockin' Chair" by B.J. Thomas, "Luckenbach, Texas" and "Wurlitzer Prize" by Waylon Jennings – both songs co-written with American Studios producer Lincoln “Chips” Moman, "Love Me Like You Used To" by Tanya Tucker, "So Much Like My Dad" by George Strait and a host of others. In the late 1990’s, he co-wrote Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana’s “Goin’ Back to Memphis” with fellow Bill Black Combo member and Memphis Boy guitarist Reggie Young.

“Luckenbach, Texas” became the signature song of Jennings’ career and a monster hit with six weeks at #1 on the Country charts – and garnering a Grammy nom for 1977’s Country Song of the Year. In all, Emmons’ work to date has received two nominations for Song of the Year, earned him three Grammy noms, six Citations of Achievement and three Millionaire Awards from Broadcast Music Inc. for radio airplay, and Nashville Songwriters Association honored him for his "creative genius in words and music."

He is slated to perform at this year’s Stomp with fellow American Studios veteran and songwriter/producer Dan Penn. Vernon, Alabama native Penn is nationally renowned as an R&B songwriter whose tunes have been recorded by Percy Sledge, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, James Carr, Solomon Burke, the Box Tops and hundreds of others. More information about Dan and his albums "Junkyard Junky" and “Blue Nite Lounge” are below.

Several other artists with Memphis connections and a slate of architects of early Rock & Roll and Rockabilly are scheduled on three stages for two big nights in late April.

Also concurrent with the festival is the Second Annual Ponderosa Stomp Music Conference, featuring intimate conversations with musicians, historians and music business giants who will discuss secrets from behind the scenes of Rockabilly, Rock & Roll and R&B history. Among the list of panelists is Dan Penn, who is a master storyteller with a wealth of information to delight music lovers. The event will be April 27–29 at Louisiana State Museum at the Cabildo in New Orleans.

For a complete list of performers and conference speakers at the 2009 Ponderosa Stomp, visit the following website:

What: Eighth Annual Ponderosa Stomp & Music Conference 2009

When: April 27-29 (conference); April 28 & 29, 2009 (festival)
Where: House of Blues and the Parish, New Orleans, Louisiana (conference held at Louisiana State Museum at the Cabildo)

Related Links:

1 comment:

  1. I used to go to New Orleans at least once a year until Katrina, and now I just can't get up the courage to go back and see how things have changed. I admire the people who continue to live there to this day.