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Thursday, 10 December 2015

Roy Ayres born 10 December 1929

Roy Ayres (December 10, 1929 – June 9, 2012) was an American pedal steel guitar player.
A Grand Ole Opry musician known for full chords and smooth tone, began playing the Hawaiian steel guitar at age of eight years old, using an old Spanish guitar. His first "real" steel guitar, an inexpensive resonator guitar, was given to him on his thirteenth birthday, December 10, 1942, by his parents.
He soon began his career as a professional musician that has lasted more than 60 years. He became proficient enough to begin playing concerts (back then they were called "show dates" and "jamborees") in local schools and court houses in and around the Columbus, Mississippi area with a small group of local musicians.
His first paid performance brought him a whopping sum of seven dollars. As this was during World War II, most musicians of age 18 or over were in the military services, so police officials "looked the other way" when, at age 14, Roy began playing local night clubs around the Columbus area, earning ten dollars each night.
At the age of 15, Roy began playing on a regular daily radio show on WCBI in Columbus with a group called the Midsouth Ramblers. After about a year, Red Stanton, a bandleader in Meridian, Mississippi, hired Roy at a salary of $45 per week to play a daily radio show on WCOC as well as week-end bookings in various night clubs and dance halls in the area.
The war ended while Roy was in Meridian, and musical instrument manufacturers resumed production of instruments such as steel guitars. Roy purchased a double-neck National steel guitar.

Just prior to his 17th birthday in 1946, Roy joined Pee Wee King and the Golden West Cowboys and moved to Nashville, Tennessee where Pee Wee's band performed weekly on the Grand Ole Opry. Shortly after joining Pee Wee, he played steel guitar on the original RCA recording of "The Tennessee Waltz" (1947), which went to the top of the country music charts and became the third biggest record seller of all time.
In the early 1950s, he played on the sound tracks for the Columbia Pictures' "Durango Kid" western film series and recorded numerous scores at King Records Ohio, for artist such as Cowboy Copas, Redd Stewart, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Joe Tex and Moon Mullican. With the advent of rock and roll, he joined Boyd Bennett and his Rockets, travelled the country performing, plus recorded hits to include "Seventeen" (1955), "My Boy Flat Top" (1955) and "High School Hop" (1959).
After two years of traveling about the country with the Rockets, Roy decided that his wife and two-year-old daughter, Sondra, were more important to him than the spotlight of the entertainment world, so he enrolled in college at the University of Louisville in 1956 where he spent 5 years earning B.S. and M.S. degrees in physics. During his college years, he played in local night clubs in the Louisville area.
After completing his formal education, Roy spent eight years in California as an aerospace physicist, after which he joined the Fender Musical Instrument Company where he remained for about two years as Director of String Instrument Development before retiring in 2003.

In 2005, he was inducted into the Pioneers of Swing Music Hall of Fame, Western Swing Music Hall of Fame in 2006 and was the 57th inductee into the International Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 2007.
He later resided in Riverview, Florida, with his wife, Laurie. He died on June 9, 2012 at the age of 82. (Info mainly Hillbilly

As you can see there's not many photos of Roy on the web, at least I found a video! This clip was recorded at the 2007 ISGC Hawaiian Gathering in St Louis. Roy was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame the next day!

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