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Jack Emerson, 1961-2003

On November 22, 2003, one of Nashville's best-loved visionaries in the rock and alt-country communities, Jack Emerson, passed away from a heart attack.

On November 22, 2003, one of Nashville’s best-loved visionaries inthe rock and alt-country communities, Jack Emerson, passed away from aheart attack. Emerson had been battling a respiratory ailment for anumber of months.

Emerson was the original bassist for Jason and The Scorchers, a bandthat drew from the soul of Hank Williams-style country and fueled itwith the raw, reckless energy of the Sex Pistols. Emerson wouldeventually ditch the bass and become the band’s manager, helping themrelease their first early ’80s recordings on Emerson’s Praxis imprint,which he started in 1982. With partners Andy McLenon and Kay Clary, hemade Praxis one of the hottest artist development and managemententerprises in the South. Ultimately, Emerson would land the Scorcherson EMI America, as well as elevate the Georgia Satellites from aregional act to worldwide success with hits like “Keep Your Handsto Yourself” and “Battleship Chains.” As SoutheastA&R for A&M and later Zoo Entertainment/BMG, Emerson and Praxisworked with John Hiatt during his landmark Bring the Familyalbum, released Billy Joe Shaver’s acclaimed Tramp on YourStreet, and elevated the recording careers of Webb Wilder, SonnyLandreth, Steve Forbert, Tim Krekel and The Sluggers, Matthew Sweet andothers.

In 1995, Emerson formed E-Squared Records, a desirable imprint forroots and Americana artists, with Steve Earle. The label’s rosterultimately included 6 String Drag, Cheri Knight, Ross Rice and Marah,as well as five of Earle’s albums. In 1999, Emerson and Earle signed asubstantial deal with Danny Goldberg’s Artemis Records.

Emerson, a huge fan of The Kinks, recently spearheaded thecritically acclaimed This Is Where I Belong: The Songs of Ray Davies& The Kinks, which featured artists such as Matthew Sweet,Fountains of Wayne, Steve Forbert, Josh Rouse and Yo La Tengo. In theworld of film, Emerson was also the executive producer of the filmsoundtrack for You Can Count on Me, winner of Best Picture andBest Screenplay at the Sundance Film Festival.

Donations may be made to the MusiCares Foundation, 615/327-0050.

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