Guitarist James Burton To Be Honored As “Nashville Cat”

James Burton (R) with Elvis Presley

Legendary guitarist James Burton will be honored Saturday, July 23, as part of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s series Nashville Cats: A Celebration of Music City Musicians. The program begins at 1:30 in the Museum’s Ford Theater and will be streamed live on

Bill Lloyd will host the event, which will include a performance and one-on-one interview, as well as vintage recordings, photos, and film clips from the the Museum Library. Burton will also sign autographs in the Museum store following the program.

Born in Louisiana, Burton began playing guitar at age 13 and helped shape the sound of popular music in the ‘50s and ‘60s. He popularized the “chicken picking” style of play and was instrumental in developing the Bakersfield Sound. His guitar work can be heard on recordings such as Dale Hawkins’ “Susie Q” (which Burton also co-wrote), Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried,” Emmylou Harris’ “Two More Bottles of Wine,” and Ricky Nelson’s “Hello Mary Lou.”

Burton additionally appeared as a band member on the Louisiana Hayride, The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet and Town Hall Party. He joined Elvis Presley’s band in 1969 and toured with him until his death. He also toured with Gram Parsons until his death, later joining Emmylou Harris’ first Hot Band. He also recorded and toured with such iconic artists as the Beach Boys, Elvis Costello, John Denver, the Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, Buck Owens, and many more.

Burton was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of fame in 2001. Named one of Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Guitarists of All Time, Burton is also winner of seven CMA awards and a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance (“Cluster Pluck,” with Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, John Jorgenson, Albert Lee, Brent Mason, Redd Volkaert and Steve Wariner).



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