Legendary rock and roll guitarist James Burton, who will be instantly recognizable to Elvis Presley fans around the world, is to make a rare return to London for a special one-night-only concert event at the iconic London Palladium on Sunday 4 June.
One of the most recognized musicians to emerge during North America’s burgeoning rock and roll, rockabilly and country music eras, Burton’s name has since been attached to such legendary artists as George Harrison, Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, The Everly Brothers, John Denver, Emmylou Harris, and Merle Haggard, and on 1000s of recordings.
His innovative use of banjo strings on his guitar in the 1950’s to bend and stretch notes, coupled with his unique ‘chicken pickin’ playing style revolutionized rock, country and pop guitar and continues to inspire and influence artists across all generations to this day. He holds a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted by longtime fan and friend Keith Richards in 2001, and has also been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
It should come as little surprise then that James Burton’s London appearance on June 4 has drawn the participation of many of his fellow musician and artist admirers from around the world. Joining Burton in this special one-off event are Sir Brian May, Van Morrison, Albert Lee, and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, with more surprise guests to be announced.
Musical Director Leo Green, along with the Leo Green Orchestra – a fantastic ensemble of topflight musicians and singers, form the supporting cast for this unique event.
Presenting the evening is Welsh singer, songwriter, and radio presenter Cerys Matthews, MBE, who currently hosts her own award-winning radio show on BBC 6 music every Sunday, as well as The Blues Show on BBC Radio 2, each Monday. Tickets for the event are now on sale.
Sir Brian May commented: “This concert, centered around my hero James Burton, one of the most influential guitar players of all time, is something we’ve been wanting to do ever since we played together in Nashville in 2019. It’s for a great man, and a great cause – and best of all we all get to play with James Burton!”
This very special and historic show ‘James Burton & Friends UK,’ will take its audience on a unique musical experience across more than six decades of exceptional musical history.
Proceeds from the show will go to The James Burton Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports music education for those in need through guitar donations and music instructions. Over the years, the Foundation has given thousands of guitars to schools, children’s and veterans’ hospitals, and other organizations. The success of this event will allow the Foundation to expand its music education program, facilities, and partnerships.
James Burton explains: “I’ve always wanted to do my own show, which – in 2005, we actually came up with the idea, invite all of my friends that I worked with, and all my guitar player friends and singers as well. I wanted to do something for the kids in music, and I got to thinking I would like to donate guitars to the kids in school – you know, get music back in schools. But the government took it out years ago. I still get letters from teachers and young kids thanking me for this program that we do.”