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Capps, Jimmy (25th May 1939-1st June 2020)

He is a singer, guitarist and producer born in Fayetteville, North Carolina and raised in Benson.  His uncle as a champion fiddler and with his encouragement Jimmy began his interest in the guitar and after his friend gave him his own guitar he began playing.  By the time he was just twelve years old he as playing at dances held in his locals area.

From the mid 1950s he was performing on television and radio stations such as WCKB-Dunn and he worked with Slim Mims in Florence in 1956.  He also worked with Slim Short in Wilson and he was a member of The Tar Heels back in Benson.

He then managed, after having been recommended, to secure a position as guitarist with The Louvin Brothers who were an acclaimed country music duo.  He performed with them for several years including when they were guest performers at the Grand Ole Opry.

In 1967 he became a member of the Grand Ole Opry Staff Band, for whom he still plays, and they became recognised for their contribution to music when they were nominated for Instrumental Group of the Year by CMA.

No stranger to the broadcasting industry, he has been seen on Good Ole Nashville Music, Grand Ole Opry Live, Opry Backstage and The Statler Brothers Show amongst others.  Outside of his guitar performances he has also worked as a producer on albums by Roy Drusky, Jan Howard, Jim & Jesse, Stu Phillips and The Wilburn Brothers to name just a few.

During all this time of recording over 500 sessions a year, he still found time to attend Belmont College to study “time evaluation” amongst other things.

Throughout his career he has performed on countless recordings and with a huge variety of artists.  Some of the hit songs he can be heard on are “He Stopped Loving Her Today” by George Jones, “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers, “The Rose” by Conway Twitty and “Stand By Your Man” by Tammy Wynette.  Other artists he has worked with include Eddy Arnold, Moe Bandy, Pat Boone, Owen Bradley, Junior Brown, Larry Butler, J.J. Cale, Mac Davis, Donna Fargo, Janie Fricke, Verne Gosdin, Ferlin Husky, Alan Jackson, Stonewall Jackson, Loretta Lynn, Barbara Mandrell, Charlie McCoy, Reba McEntire, Bill Medley, Wayne Newton, Mickey Newbury, The Osborne Brothers, Johnny Paycheck, Charley Pride, Jeannie Seely, Connie Smith, Billy Sherrill, Billie Joe Spears, Terry Stafford, Joe Stampley, Nat Stuckey, B.J. Thomas, Ernest Tubb, Conway Twitty, Porter Wagoner, Billy Walker, Steve Wariner, Dottie West and The Whites to name just a few of many.

The number of albums he has performed on are countless and far too many to mention here, but a few of them include his own Jimmy Capps: His Guitar and Friends Making Memories and Grand Ole Steel & Guitar with Weldon Myrick as well as RCA Country Legends by Chet Atkins, Love Has No Reason by Debby Boone, Gone Girl by Johnny Cash, My Favourite Hymns by Roy Clark, Sweet Dreams by Patsy Cline, Originals by Floyd Cramer, Takin’ It Easy by Lacy J. Dalton, Lay Some Happiness On Me: The Reprise Years by Dean Martin, Some Days Are Diamonds by John Denver, Wayward Wind by James Galway, Never Alone by Amy Grant, Lonesome, On’ry and Mean by Waylon Jennings, My Very Special Guests by George Jones, Darlin by Tom Jones, Shadowland by k.d. Lang, Chain Lightning by Don McLean, Night Things by Ronnie Milsap, Bobby Sue by The Oak Ridge Boys, My Tennessee Mountain Home by Dolly Parton, Unbreakable Hearts by Hargus “Pig” Robbins, The Gambler by Kenny Rogers,  Artists Choice: The Best Tracks (1970-1980) by Earl Scruggs Revue, Strait Country by George Strait, Just Sylvia by Sylvia and Christmas with Slim Whitman by Slim Whitman and You Lay So Easy On My Mind/Let’s Love While We Can by Andy Williams.

Honoured for his work in music the 25th May 1998 was proclaimed Jimmy Capps Appreciation Day in Benson, North Carolina, and he is the recipient of several NARAS awards for “playing on the most No. 1 hit records” and being the Most Valuable Acoustic Player.  This led to him being part of the NARAS Superpickers Band in 1978 and 1979.  He also won the Nashville Golden R.O.P.E. Award for Musician of the Year in 2001.  Aside from receiving awards, he has also performed with the Billy Walker Orchestra in at least 20 of the CMA Awards shows as well as the People Choice Awards, the Music City News Awards.

Having moved to Nashville when he was 19 years old, he remained there and was part of the Grand Ole Opry for more than 50 years.

He died in June 2020 when he was 81 years old.

Hargus “Pig” Robbins recordings
Unbreakable Hearts
Elektra (E-46512-A) (US promo 45)

Kenny Rogers recordings
The Gambler (
Don. Schlitz)
United Artists UA-X1250Y (UAST-20122) (US 45)