The Bud Sessions

Ledbetter FamilyFor about 60 years or so, my Daddy, Bud Ledbetter has been filling our family home with music. He sings and plays multiple instruments including guitar, piano, banjo, organ, and mandolin. He is well-versed in every kind of Roots-Americana genre of music that you can imagine including, bluegrass, country, blues, rock and roll, gospel, and hillbilly. I grew up hearing him tearing up the guitar and piano and singing and playing an endless array of songs over the years. So many of those licks I heard as a child are permanently ingrained in my musical DNA and form the groundwork for everything I have ever learned as a musician. Every one of my siblings also inherited musical abilities and a vast appreciation for the magical force of music, as did my son and his cousins.

Bud used to have an old reel-to-reel tape deck and killer record player that was a constant source of entertainment for the whole family with hundreds of songs to choose from. Over the years our family gatherings often turned into planned picking and jam sessions with various friends and extended family and sometimes we just break out instruments and start playing. To this day, I am always amazed at the number of songs Bud has turned us on to over the years and as we all got older, he started picking up songs from us. It’s not uncommon for our jam sessions to include everything from Ralph Stanley and old Gospel songs to pieces by the Stones or Grateful Dead. John Prine has always been a favorite artist that we all share a love for. I have managed to capture many of these sessions with my low tech recording systems, including some boom box mixes from the 80s, but most of them are really low quality recordings.

After talking about it for years, we all pitched in for his 80th birthday a year ago and gave him a day in the studio to record some music with the entire family. After being sidetracked by my Momma, Dale Ledbetter’s diligent battle to whip cancer’s ass, we are now scheduled next month to take the family into the incomparable Bates Brothers Recording studio to do six of our favorite songs. It was pretty tough to narrow down all of the songs we’ve done over the years to six, but we settled on a good list and have had several rehearsals over the past few months and we’re all real excited about doing these sessions, our musical gift to Bud.

6 Comments

  1. Melinda ledbetter

    Awesome bro! So true & such an incredible journey we have all experienced through music. I could not imagine life without that connection we all have. Daddy is a very unique & gifted musician, like you:) I’m so excited about spending that time together & creating more wonderful memories for the family chronicles that I hold in my heart. Love you mucho bro, & thanks for all you do for our family!

    Reply
  2. Jean Campbell

    Will there be copies available???

    Reply
    1. Bill Ledbetter (Post author)

      We will definitely make copies available. I’m hoping to get my sister Lynn to design some cool art work for the cover and sleeves! Will let you know and thanks for dropping by the blogosphere!

      Reply
  3. John English

    Bill – this is fantastic. I have recordings I made of Ian when he was very young. A couple of them are Christmas song CDs we gave to family members and the others are things he and I did and — amazingly — some stories he made up. My point is this — if I never used my recording gear for anything else, I’ve gotten my money’s worth in those recordings of Ian. You have the added benefit of having this be an experience, which is way more valuable than a “thing.” The joy of a “thing” wears off quickly but experiences you both remember and share with others. The joy of an experience is forever. This is a great thing you’re doing.

    Reply
    1. Bill Ledbetter (Post author)

      Well put, John and thanks for visiting the site! So many things we acquire to make us happy or comfortable are great, but experiences are forever. I’ve been capturing things on tape since I can remember and as you know, have an immense archive of home made recording. I’m grateful to have shared many of these magical experiences with you and other talented friends as well. The great part about doing it in a professional studio is all you have to do is play and enjoy the experience without the distraction of buttons and settings.

      Reply
      1. Phillip Withrow

        awesome Bill, I can,t wait to hear it.

        Reply

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