Emmylou Harris, Mary Ann Kennedy, Pam Rose Pay Tribute to John D. Loudermilk
John D. Loudermilk was one of those songwriters everybody knows and whose songs have filled country, pop, and rock catalogs for artists as diverse as Trisha Yearwood, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and Edgar Winter (though there have been numerous versions of Loudermilk’s paean to rural Southern grittiness, “Tobacco Road”).
On March 24, 2016, Peter Cooper of the Country Music Hall of Fame (who also wrote the liner notes for the new album A Tribute to John D. Loudermilk) hosted an evening at the Franklin Theatre, in Franklin, Tennessee, featuring more than two dozen musicians—from Rosanne Cash, The Whites with Ricky Skaggs, Lee Roy Parnell, Deborah Allen, and Jimmy Hall, singing tribute to Loudermilk. Although he was sick at the time, Loudermilk attended the show; he died on September 21, 2016, six months after celebrating this evening of music and memories.
All the artist royalties of the night were donated to MusiCares, an organization established by the Recoding Academy to safeguard the health and well-being of musicians.
A film of the concert will be released as a PBS special.
As Cooper writes: “In life and love and song, Loudermilk hated moderation. 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.”
In one of the touching moments of the evening Emmylou Harris, Mary Ann Kennedy, and Pam Rose sing a haunting beautiful version of “Where Have They Gone,” a song that cuts through misty nostalgia to the sparseness of life and love prompted by everyday objects and long-held memories.