Here's the press release...
Gibson Guitar, the world's premier musical instrument manufacturer and home of the cherished Les Paul guitar model along with the Gibson Foundation has announced a very special tribute to the late, great Les Paul to be held at the historic Ryman Auditorium, former home to the Grand Ole Opry, in Nashville on Thursday, November 19, 2009. The tribute concert program will be free to the many fans of Les Paul and Gibson Guitar. Les Paul, the innovator and inventor who passed away at 94 years old this past August was known throughout the world as the man who created multi-track recording and the father of the electric guitar. Many musicians pay homage to Les Paul and credit their careers and musicianship directly to him.
Gibson Guitar along with some of music's most respected celebrities will join together to celebrate the life of Les Paul during a night of music, special announcements, video tributes and testimonials and storytelling. The event marks the first tribute held by the guitar maker in honor of Les Paul. Many other programs and special events will continue to take place throughout the year and early 2010 to mark anniversary dates significant to Les Paul's life and in an effort to preserve the legacy of the man who made modern music what it is today. The Ryman Auditorium is located at 116 Fifth Avenue North, Nashville, Tennessee, 37219
Les Paul's son, Russ Paul, along with Gibson Guitar Chairman and CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum President Terry Stewart will emcee the 90 minute program which will begin at 8pm at the Ryman (doors open at 7pm CT). The Les Paul Trio, widely known for their Monday night performances with Les Paul at the Iridium in New York while Les was alive, will serve as house band and be joined on stage by musical great Steve Miller, also Les Paul's godson. The evening will be a mix of Les Paul's music and instrumentals and supported by chart-topping musical acts own memories of Les Paul and their own performances in tribute to the man, the music and the guitar.
Joining Steve Miller for the show will be rock's elite including Joan Jett, Ace Frehley, Zakk Wylde and Jennifer Batten. Joining them will be contemporary artist Josh Kelly and Nashville's own country hit-makers John Rich, Emerson Drive, JD Souther and Steve Wariner. NY Jazz artist Sarah Partridge will perform a special rendition of Les' own version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow while Anna Wilson will take the stage to perform her personal jazz remembrance.
"Many years ago Les told me the story of when he was taken to the Ryman Auditorium with his grandmother. He was extremely proud of the fact that she would not leave until he had a chance to play on that historic stage and based on Les Paul's recollection was quite successful in achieving just that,"
said Henry Juszkiewicz, Chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar. "The show at the Ryman will be a celebration of Les' life through music, storytelling and some very unique video elements. It will serve as a fitting tribute to a man who touched many lives during his 94 years."
"My father always spoke of the Ryman Auditorium as a very special place,"
said Rusty Paul, son of the late Les Paul. "It is the place that helped form the early years of my father's love of music and subsequently drove his passion for his many inventions. I am so thrilled to be back here for this very special tribute and know that Dad is smiling from above."
Les Paul was an acclaimed guitar player, entertainer and inventor. One of the foremost influences on 20th century sound and responsible for the world's most famous guitar, the Les Paul model, Les Paul's prestigious career in music and invention spans from the 1930s to the present. Though he's indisputably one of America's most popular, influential, and accomplished electric guitarists, Les Paul is best known as an early innovator in the development of the solid body guitar. His groundbreaking design would become the template for Gibson's best-selling electric, the Les Paul model, introduced in 1952. Today, countless musical legends still consider Paul's iconic guitar unmatched in sound and prowess. Among Paul's most enduring contributions are those in the technological realm, including ingenious developments in multi-track recording, guitar effects, and the mechanics of sound in general. Les Paul passed away this past August at the age of 94.
In addition to the musical performances, legendary artists including Scotty Moore (Elvis Presley) and Lou Pallo of the Les Paul Trio will give personal stories from the stage about their experiences with Les Paul. Gibson Guitar Chairman and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz will tell a very special story that relates back to Les Paul's early childhood and his experience at the Ryman Theatre while President of Gibson Guitar, Dave Berryman shares some entertaining tales of working with Les Paul. The audience will also be treated to exclusive video testimonials from globally recognized artists including Slash, Billy Gibbons, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter and many more. Additional surprises will be planned and announced throughout the show. Seating is limited and interested fans who would like to register for free tickets are advised to consult the Gibson website for a future announcement on how to obtain these tickets. Gibson Guitar expects to announce this system no later than October 26, 2009. Tickets will be limited to 4 per person per household.