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Plans announced for Memorial Concert
The late musician Barry "Byrd" Burton will be honored in a concert featuring Kansas and Special Guests
Rogersville, TN, March 11, 2008: A memorial concert will be held Friday, April 18th, at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Greeneville, Tennessee, to honor Rogersville native Barry "Byrd" Burton who lost his fight against Leukemia and Myelodysplastic Syndrome Monday, March 10, 2008. The concert, beginning at 7:00 p.m., will feature opening act Dixie Highway, followed by a compilation of musicians who were part of Burton's career through the years, and will wind up with a performance by the band Kansas.
Byrd Burton was from Rogersville, Tennessee, and played in local bands there growing up. Most commonly known as the guitar player and producer for the 70's country rock band and Grammy award winning The Amazing Rhythm Aces, his career took off when legendary producer Sam Phillips of Sun Records hand-picked him to be a session player at Sun Studios in Memphis where legends like Elvis and Johnny Cash got their start. He was engineering, producing, and playing guitar on The Amazing Rhythm Aces album "Stacked Deck" when they insisted he join the group. He was with The Amazing Rhythm Aces for three more albums, leaving in 1978 to take his place as a much-in-demand session player and producer in Nashville.
Byrd toured with numerous other artists, including Dan Fogelberg, Dolly Parton, and Brooks and Dunn. His guitar licks can be heard on studio recordings by Don Williams, The Oak Ridge Boys, Emmylou Harris, Crystal Gayle, Mickey Gilley, John Conlee, TG Shephard, and many more. He was a two-time Grammy nominated artist, winning one for Country Performance by a Group for the song The End Is Not in Sight (The Cowboy Tune) from the album Too Stuffed to Jump by The Amazing Rhythm Aces.
Byrd was scheduled for a bone marrow transplant at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, where he died of complications resulting from his latest round of chemotherapy. He successfully fought that form of cancer in 1999, and doctors feel his bone marrow disease probably stemmed from the chemotherapy treatment he received at that time.
Concert organizers had been planning the concert for a few weeks, and it was originally intended to be a "benefit" rather than a "memorial." However, they decided that it would be appropriate to honor Burton with the music he loved, so the event will be held as planned.
Opening act Dixie Highway is an exciting, six-piece, progressive Country band raised on traditional Country Music, with Southern Rock, Blues, Bluegrass and Gospel Music influences contributing to their distinct sound. Their latest, original album, "Highways and Heartaches," was produced by award winning gold and platinum engineer and producer Frank Green, who has worked with many recording artist including Kenny Rogers and Garth Brooks, and by Steve Jones, manager of the Dixie Highway Band. "Highways and Heartaches" has songs for everyone, including "I Call It Love," a fan favorite, and "Can You Feel It?" - an energizing, feel good song that brings crowds to their feet.
Also taking the stage will be an assortment of friends of Byrd Burton, along with The B-Team Blues Band. Featured friends will include Jeff "Stick" Davis, founding member of The Amazing Rhythm Aces, and local favorite Benny Wilson.
The headline act of the evening will be legendary rock band Kansas. They have produced eight gold albums, three sextuple-Platinum albums, one Platinum live album, and a million-selling gold single, "Dust In The Wind." Kansas appeared on the Billboard charts for over 200 weeks throughout the 70's and 80's, and played to sold-out arenas and stadiums throughout North America, Europe, and Japan. The song "Carry On My Wayward Son" was the second-most played track on classic rock radio in 1995, and went to #1 in 1997. In 1998, Kansas released an orchestral CD, "Always Never the Same," recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios in London. They followed with an orchestral tour accompanied by top-caliber symphonies.
Kansas member Billy Greer is a long-time friend of Byrd Burton, and wanted to be a part of this event from the start. He will be doing a Tri-Cities media blitz promoting the event the first part of April.
Tickets for the memorial concert are $30.00, and can be purchased by phone through the Niswonger Performing Arts Center box office at 423-638-1679. The box office is open Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. A very limited number of "Kansas Meet and Greet" tickets will also be available through the box office. Proceeds from the concert will go to Burton's family to offset the medical expenses incurred during his treatment. Remaining proceeds will go to a cause related to the disease.
The event will also feature an auction of autographed collectible memorabilia, including a guitar signed by the rock group Styx, a guitar signed by Brooks and Dunn, and much more (click here for photos).