He is a multi-instrumentalist born in Atlanta, Georgia who was playing the piano by the time he was four years old and the ukulele, guitar and banjo by the time he was six. While he was still at school he would manage his time off by playing in various types of bands and when attending Georgia State University he played the French horn in their band.
Although loving all the instruments that he played, the bass guitar was the one he wanted to play the most and this came to fruition after he had become a session musician based in Los Angeles in 1964 and was requested to play it by Tommy Roe . Within a week he went to work in a studio and ended up working Tommy Roe again and Mac David amongst others. This led him to going on tour with acts such as Lou Christie and The Impressions and also co-writing songs such as “Traces” where he collaborated with Buddy Buie and J.R. Cobb .
Moving into the 1970s he joined forces with Neil Diamond in 1971 and became his bassist in the studio and on tour and by March of the next year he was taken on to do some recording for Elvis in the absence of his normal bass player, Jerry Scheff . This would result in him appearing on the hits “Burning Love”, “Separate Ways”, “For the Good Times” and “Always On My Mind “. Still performing with Neil Diamond’s band he appeared with him in concert and on his Hot August Night Live in 1972 and also that same year would record with Gram Parsons and become one of the first members of Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band, who he would stay with until 1977. In 1973 he was back with Elvis’s TCB Band after being recommended by him personally and he remained with them for the rest of the year until he decided to spend more time in the recording studio. 1977 saw him working with Roseanne Cash in the band The Cherry Bombs and after being with them for around 2 years he left for a while so he could tour the world with John Denver and work on two of his albums where he wrote the bass tracks.
With the 1980s came another string to his bow in the line of production work in Nashville and working often in collaboration he produced for artists such as Steve Earle, Patty Loveless, who he married in 1989, and Chris Hillman.
At the same time he also ventured into the world of movie music and produced the soundtracks for King of New York, Black Dog, Apostle, Switchback, Broken Bridges and Tin Cup. Over the years the amount of other artists he has worked with are countless but include Alabama, Hoyt Axton , Bellamy Brothers, Jimmy Buffett, David Cassidy, Dan Fogelberg, Vince Gill, Billy Joel, George Jones, Bill Monroe, Tom Petty, Linda Ronstadt, Carol Bayer Sager, Ricky Skaggs and Conway Twitty. The literally hundreds of albums he has featured on as a musician include In Pictures by Alabama , Pure Country by George Strait , Heart Like a Wheel by Linda Ronstadt , Seven Year Ache by Roseanne Cash, Evangeline and Songbird: Rare Tracks & Forgotten Gems by Emmylou Harris, My Lives, Piano Man, Streetlife Serenade and Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2 by Billy Joel, In My Lifetime by Neil Diamond , Better Days by Guy Clark , Dancer With Bruised Knees by Kate & Anna McGarrigle, 50 Years of Hits by George Jones, Shades by J.J. Cale, Elvis and Platinum: A Life in Music by Elvis Presley , Let Your Love Flow by The Bellamy Brothers, The Higher They Climb the Harder They Fall by David Cassidy, Weve Got Tonight by Kenny Rogers , Road Songs by Hoyt Axton , Last Mango in Paris and Riddles in the Sand by Jimmy Buffett , Five-O-Five by Hank Williams Jr. and Christmas Together by John Denver & The Muppets.
Recognised for his contributions to music he has won many awards including a Grammy for “Best Bluegrass Album” with Southern Flavor by Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys and was inducted into the Georgia Hall of Fame in 1997.
He retired during the mid-2000s and just writes, occasionally plays as a studio musician and appears yearly with his wife when she performs at Nashville.
Here he is playing bass with Emmylou Harris and The Hot Band on “Tulsa Queen”…