Oral History -

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Gary Burr played trumpet in the school band and went on to become one of the top songwriters in Nashville in the 1980s and 90s.

Chuck Ainlay was a member of a band in school which is where his love and passion for music began. Although he knew he may not make it as a professional musician, he knew he wanted to be involved with music somehow. In college he was exposed to a recording studio and soon realized his passion for engineering.

Eddie Bayers is the studio musician who was asked to assemble a group of players in the era following the Nashville A Team to act as the go-to group for studio recordings. Eddie called them the Nashville Players and the group include Paul Franklin and Jim Horn (among others). Throughout his career Eddie provided the beat behind thousands of country, rock and pop hit records.

Essra Mohawk wrote songs since she was a little girl! She learned the ability to express the feelings so many of us have about love and happiness using music. Her songs have been recorded by artists such as Tina Turner, the Shangri-Las, Vanilla Fudge and Cyndi Lauper, among others.

Hank Marvin and his buddy, Bruce Welch, formed the instrumental rock band The Shadows in 1958 in England. The highly influential group pioneered the four-member rock band format consisting of lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass guitar and drums.

Johnny Smith played drums professionally with the Oak Ridge Boys and Travis Tritt, among others, before a group of investors approached him to help create the Songbirds Guitar Museum. Johnny was first asked to find the perfect city for the museum. In 2013, he traveled all around the states before finally suggesting Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Paul Franklin asked his father to help modify his pedal steel guitar, as he had ideas to create sounds and chord changes that were not possible on the instrument at the time. His father, also Paul Franklin, created and patented the Pedabro, which his son, Paul, used on classic recordings, such as “Forever and Ever Amen,” with Randy Travis.

Steve Gibson repeated, “I’ve been blessed,” which acted as a recurring theme throughout his NAMM Oral History interview. The sentiment comes from a review of his extraordinary career as a studio musician, producer, and musical director based in Nashville. At 19 years old, in the early 1970s, he came to town and was recording in a studio on his first day.

Guy DeVillez has always had a passion for music. At age 12, Guy started playing guitar and would collect odd guitar picks that he found here and there. He found colorful and unusual picks in music stores and after gigs in local clubs. As his collection grew, so did his knowledge of pick history.

Gail Davies was the first female Record Producer in Nashville. In 1973, she was encouraged to run her own sessions by Henry Lewy (1926-2008). It was not easy to establish herself as a producer, but she was determined. As a result, Gail has assisted the careers of hundreds of artists over the years.