A Tribute to Tennessee Ernie Ford - Birthplace of Country Music

A Tribute to Tennessee Ernie Ford

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum is proud to partner with The Paramount Chamber Players to produce a one-of-a-kind evening dedicated to the music of Tennessee Ernie Ford on February 13, 2015 at 7 P.M. at the Paramount Center for the Arts. The Tennessee Ernie Ford Tribute Concert, on what would have been Ford’s 97th birthday, will feature songs from Ford’s vast repertoire performed by The Paramount Chamber Players, special guests The Jeff Little Trio, a choral ensemble, and vocal soloists, along with accompanying narration.

“The collaboration between a museum dedicated to country music and an ensemble dedicated to classical music may seem at first glance an odd pairing,” says Craig Combs, Artistic Director of The Paramount Chamber Players, “but in recent decades, there is a trend of honoring artists of previous generations by creating new versions of their music which often involves merging musical styles or creating a completely new composition.”

The two-hour concert will include something for everyone: gospel tunes, country boogie tunes, patriotic and folk songs, and a new rendition of “Sixteen Tons.” The program intends to reimagine and reinvigorate the significant contribution of Tennessee Ernie Ford to many genres of American popular music. It will also feature two premieres: newly-discovered lyrics from the museum archives and an arrangement of some of Ford’s signature hymn tunes by composer Ann Holler, specially commissioned for this concert.

Dr. Jessica Turner, Director of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, notes: “The concert really represents a synergy of research, cultural stewardship, and performance. Our staff spent time reviewing our large collection of papers, sheet music, and recordings related to Tennessee Ernie Ford to find tunes that Ford sang or recorded from which Craig and his arranger Thomas Maternik created the program. We also invited composer Ann Holler, The Jeff Little Trio, and writers Joe and Ann Goodpasture to lend their unique talents to the evening.”

The concert will also include performances by the winners of the museum’s “Sixteen Tons” cover contest held in December 2015. “We had so many delightful entries, and our panel of judges had a difficult time deciding the winners,” said David Lewis, the museum’s Curator of Collections and Digital Media. “We’re excited about the wide variety of entries we received and the ways the musicians made Ford’s most famous song their own.”

Admission for the concert is $20; tickets are available at the Paramount Center for the Arts box office, or their website.

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