One of America’s most beloved songwriters is being honored today, September 15, with the release of the Vector Recordings album A Tribute to John D. Loudermilk.
Among the more than two dozen musicians memorializing the composer of “Tobacco Road,” “Abilene,” “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye,” “Waterloo,” “Indian Reservation,” and “A Rose and a Baby Ruth” are Emmylou Harris, Rosanne Cash, Ricky Skaggs, Rodney Crowell, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and renowned guitarists Tommy Emmanuel and John Jorgenson. The evening was hosted by songwriter and music historian Peter Cooper.
A Tribute to John D. Loudermilk was recorded live March 24, 2016 during a concert at the Franklin Theatre in Franklin, Tennessee, near Nashville. Although ailing at the time, Loudermilk was on hand to witness this outpouring of love and respect. He died September 21 at the age of 82.
All artist royalty proceeds will be donated to MusiCares. MusiCares was established by the Recording Academy to safeguard the health and well-being of all music people.
A film of the concert will be released this Fall as a PBS special. Grammy-winning John Jorgenson produced the album and was musical director for the concert. Dixie Gamble, who organized the concert, is co-producer of the album and is overseeing production of the PBS special. A Tribute to John D. Loudermilk will be distributed by BFD in association with Sony/Red Distribution.
Loudermilk found inspiration for his songs in the raw material most people overlook—a lovesick teenager’s peace offering, the magnetic pull of birthplace, the inevitability of personal failure. In addition to hosting the live event, Peter Cooper was also tapped to write the liner notes for the project. “In life and love and song, Loudermilk hated moderation,” writes Cooper. “He wasn’t just a seeker of truth and beauty, he was a finder. He found it, he learned it, he kept it, and then he shared it with us seekers.”
Equally adept at writing rock, pop and country hits, Loudermilk had songs recorded by the Allman Brothers, Edgar Winter, Jefferson Airplane, the Animals, Johnny Winter, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Casinos, the Everly Brothers, Petula Clark, Perry Como, Brenda Lee, Roy Orbison, Sammy Davis Jr., the Box Tops, Rick Nelson, Stonewall Jackson, Ernie Ashworth, Eddy Arnold, George Hamilton IV, Skeeter Davis, the Browns, Connie Smith, Webb Pierce, Barbara Mandrell, George Jones, Bobbie Gentry, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Waylon Jennings, Doc Watson, Sonny James, Anne Murray, Conway Twitty, Willie Nelson, James Brown, Solomon Burke, Nina Simone, Norah Jones, Jay Z and Kanye West.