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Henderson, TN (November 21, 2007) - One of the legends of steel guitar, John Hughey, died Sunday, November 18 at the age of 73. A member of the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame, Hughey’s signature “crying steel” technique helped define the sound of more than 100 artists in a career that spanned nearly half a century.
Hughey began his career at age 19 with a gig playing steel guitar for Slim Rhodes and the Mother’s Best Mountaineers, a Memphis-based band with a television show. After alternating between touring with the group and playing nightclubs, Hughey settled upon a permanent position playing with childhood friend Conway Twitty. After 20 years, Hughey took a short break from touring and started playing for Loretta Lynn, which led to a 12 year gig with Vince Gill.
All the while, Hughey was an important session player who played with the likes of Elvis Presley, Isaac Hayes, Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and George Strait and appeared regularly on an array of television programs, from Hee Haw to Austin City Limits to The Tonight Show.
In recent years, Hughey held down a weekly gig with The Time Jumpers, a Western Swing band full of recording legends and current top-shelf session cats. The Time Jumpers like to play at the Station Inn on Monday nights. With many tourists unaware of the gig, it tends to draw locals -- it''s not unusual to spot big names in audience enjoying a great country/Western swing/Jazz performance from the other side of the stage -- The Time Jumpers have often been referred to as the "Best Band in Nashville."
It seems that legendary players like Hughey, whose work allowed others to shine, often pass away with little recognition. Premier Guitar would like to pay tribute to a man whose distinct steel playing has delighted the ears of countless fans of country music, and music in general, for many decades.
Hughey’s funeral service was held on Wednesday, November 21 in Henderson, Tennessee.