Jimmy Capps
Jimmy Capps

Legendary Nashville Session Musician Jimmy Capps Dead At 81

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NASHVILLE (CelebrityAccess) — Jimmy Capps, a Nashville guitarist and member of the Musicians Hall of Fame, who performed on some of the most recognized country music songs in history, has died. He was 81.

His death was confirmed by the Grand Ole Opry, where he was a member and part of the house band for five decades. A cause of death was not available at the time of publication.

A native of Fayetteville, North Carolina, Capps began playing guitar at an early age and in 1958, he successfully auditioned to be a part of the Louvin Brothers band.

Capps described the experience in a biography on his website:

“When I auditioned for my job with the Louvin Brothers, their current guitar player (Paul Yandell, who had been drafted into the Army)) had heard me working with a duet in North Carolina who sang all the Louvin Brother’s songs, so I knew all the intros and turnarounds to their songs. He’d heard me play and recommended me to the Louvins”.

“So I went to Burlington, N.C. and after their show, we went back to the hotel and I auditioned. I did all their intros and turnarounds to the songs they auditioned me with and they seemed to like me okay. But their guitar player noticed I didn’t use a thumbpick…he then asked me if I could play “Malaguena”? I told him, “No I couldn’t”. Charlie Louvin spoke up and said, “Well … Ira and I very seldom sing “Malaguena” anymore … so, we’re gonna hire you anyway!”

“Thanks to Charlie … I guess I owe my whole career to him. That one split-second decision that he made is the reason I am here. That decision made all the difference in my life.”

Capps later made his debut on the Opry in December of that same year, joining the Louvin Brothers for a performance of their hit “Knoxville Girl.”

In 1967, Capps joined the Grand Ole Opry Staff Band and was honored with his fellow players in 1982 when they was nominated for Instrumental Group Of The Year by the Country Music Association.


Capps was also a noted studio musician and part of the Nashville session players known as The A-Team.

Capps has performed some of the most iconic country music recordings, including Kenny Rogers “The Gambler”; George Jones “He Stopped Loving Her Today”; Conway Twitty’s “The Rose”; and George Strait’s “Amarillo by Morning”.

He also served on the executive board of the Nashville Musicians Local 257 union.

Throughout his career, Capps has received numerous accolades from the National Academy Of Recording Arts & Science, including becoming a member of the “NARAS Superpickers Band” for the years 1978 & 1979 and being recognized for playing on the most #1 hit recordings.

In 2012, the Country Music Hall of Fame recognized Capps as one of the “Nashville Cats” session musicians and he was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2014.

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