In one of the most ambitious projects yet launched to memorialize a Nashville songwriter, Vector Recordings will release on Sept. 15 the album A Tribute to John D. Loudermilk. Recorded live last year during a concert at Tennessee’s Franklin Theatre, the project will also be spun off as a PBS special and possibly as a commercial DVD.
Among the more than two dozen artists performing on the 24-cut album are Emmylou Harris, Ricky Skaggs, Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, John Jorgenson, Tommy Emmanuel and Lee Roy Parnell.
All artist royalties from the project will be donated to MusiCares, the Recording Academy’s charity to aid in-need members of the music community.
Loudermilk, who was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1976, died in 2016, a few months after the tribute concert.
Although operating out of Nashville, Loudermilk wrote hits not only for country artists but for rock and pop stars as well. His classic compositions include “Waterloo,” “Abilene,” “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye,” “Break My Mind,” “Indian Reservation,” “Talk Back Trembling Lips” and “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye.”
The list of artists who recorded Loudermilk’s songs is voluminous, ranging from George Hamilton IV, Stonewall Jackson, Ernest Ashworth and George Jones on the country side, to such mainstream acts as the Allman Brothers, Jefferson Airplane, Roy Orbison, Perry Como, Jerry Lee Lewis, James Brown and Norah Jones.
“In life and love and song, Loudermilk hated moderation,” observes music critic Peter Cooper in his liner notes for the album. “He wasn’t just a seeker of truth and beauty, he was a finder.”
Grammy-winning guitarist John Jorgenson produced the album and was the musical director for the concert. Dixie Gamble organized the concert, co-produced the album and is overseeing production of the PBS special, which will air according to local schedules.