Friday, April 12, 2024

April 12 - The Honor of Shreveport

Shreveport Mayor Tom Arceneaux has declared April 12, 2024, as James Burton Day and presented a proclamation acknowledging the contributions Burton has made to the entertainment industry and to his hometown of Shreveport at a dedication ceremony at the northwest corner of Milam Street at Elvis Presley Avenue in downtown Shreveport.

He also announced that two blocks of Milam Street, from Common Street to Austen Place, are being renamed "James Burton Way". This stretch runs past Municipal Auditorium, near the statues of James Burton and Elvis Presley and the headquarters of the James Burton Foundation.

According to the Shreveport Downtown Development Authority press release Burton’s love of music began at an early age, and he found his first guitar in downtown Shreveport. "I happened to be walking by J&S Music on Milam Street," he says. "This guitar was hanging in the window, and I just stood there drooling over it." Fortunately, his parents bought his first guitar. "It was perfect," Burton recalls. "It was the most important guitar in the world for me, and still today, I love that guitar."

James Burton is planning to celebrate his 85th birthday in August hosting a 3-day reunion James Burton International Guitar Festival from August 17 to 19 at Municipal Auditorium in Shreveport. He has invited all artists who have performed at his shows over the years to join him. He holds these festivals around the country to raise money for the James Burton Foundation which supports music education for those in need through guitar donations and music instruction to schools, hospitals and community service organizations. James’ mission is to give children the lifelong gift of music to pass on for generations.

New Ryman Auditorium Elvis Exhibit

Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium has unveiled a new Elvis Presley exhibition titled “From Memphis to the Ryman,” commemorating 70 years since Presley’s one and only Grand Ole Opry performance at the Ryman on Oct. 2, 1954.

Renowned as one of the most talked-about moments in Ryman history, Presley’s performance, alongside lead guitarist Scotty Moore and double bass player Bill Black, is revisited through a series of recollections, photographs and artifact displays. The centerpiece of the exhibit is the dynamic storytelling surrounding Presley’s infamous appearance, narrated by Matthew Ramsey, songwriter and lead singer of ACM and CMA award-winning band Old Dominion.

Ramsey noted, “The Ryman is full of history and stories like this, and it’s great to be a part of telling the story of someone who’s had such a tremendous impact on music and culture, not to mention my own personal musical journey. I’m honored to narrate this incredible exhibit marking the 70th anniversary of Elvis’s historic Opry debut at the Ryman.”

Visitors will experience the tale of Presley’s nerves backstage, his prediction of the audience’s reception and the aftermath of his rendition of Bill Monroe’s “Blue Moon of Kentucky.” Despite the tepid applause that followed, the night remains etched in Ryman lore.

The exhibition’s highlights include unique artifacts, each offering a glimpse into different facets of Elvis’s life and legacy, including the 1954 contract between Presley and Sun Records that jumpstarted his career. A short 64 days after the contract was signed, Presley stepped onto the Ryman’s stage.

From an iconic royal blue suit worn by Presley to a collection of personal items belonging to influential figures who were present for Elvis’s Opry debut such as Sam Phillips, Hank Snow and Bill Monroe, the exhibit immerses visitors in the essence of an era that forever changed the landscape of American music.
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(Source: Bill Shute / Shreveport-Bossier City Advocate / Ryman / Elvis Information Network)