BGCS Newsflash, August 23, 2021
Bill Emerson (January 22, 1938-August 21, 2021)
To Our Readers,
Ellen and I have lost a dear friend, and an artist of whom we were absolute fans.

When Time Life Music released Bluegrass Country Soul on DVD in 2006, Ellen and I shipped copies to all the artists in the movie. Bill Emerson was the first artist to respond, with a thank you note, praise for the film, and to add that it made him feel “like a Country Gentleman all over again.” This message meant more to me than any review I had ever received.

The first time I heard the Country Gentlemen was at the July 4th Berryville Festival in 1971. When they did “Bringing Mary Home” I was captivated, and from that moment on was a life-long fan. Soon afterwards, I saw them again at the Shamrock in Georgetown. When we found the funding for our movie, I was overjoyed to feature Bill and the Gentlemen doing “Matterhorn” and “Fox on the Run.”

When Ellen and I were considering taking on the project of restoring Bluegrass Country Soul and releasing a 50th anniversary edition, Bill was the first bluegrass artist I called, to ask for his opinion and advice. He gave us his complete endorsement and offered to help in any way possible.
Bill Emerson and the Country
Gentlemen walk to the stage
Bill and Lola Emerson at the premiere of the restored Bluegrass Country Soul
In November 2018, Bill and his wife, Lola, invited us to visit them at their Virginia home. Bill's graciousness and hospitality were immense. We talked for hours, and before we left, Lola handed me a bag full of his CDs. I even asked Bill to autograph one of my LP albums of the Country Gentlemen.

In April 2019, Bill and Lola visited with us at Henninger Media Services in Arlington, where we did a video interview for the “Special Features” on our Blu-ray and standard DVD. When we premiered the restored film at the Bluegrass Hall of Fame & Museum in Owensboro, Bill and Lola were there to cheer us on.

Bill’s unqualified love of Bluegrass Country Soul gave us such confidence in our work that it helped us over any of the hurdles we faced. Bill volunteered to step in and make important phone calls for us when they were needed. He also contributed his anecdotes to our companion book, and agreed to allow music for our 2-CD set of “Additional Music,” including his own, distinctive composition, “Cowboys and Indians.”

Ellen and I were so proud to be in the audience when Bill was inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame.

I’m sure everyone who has met him will use the same word to describe him, namely, that in every sense, he was a true “Gentleman.” When referring to Bill Emerson, I will always capitalize that word.

Our hearts and love go out to Lola, and Bill’s entire family. We miss him already.

Best Always,
Albert Ihde and Ellen Pasternack
Producer/Director and Executive Director

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