Charlie McCoyMarch 06, 2012
(Harmonica, Guitar, Drums, Vibes, Keyboards, Bass, Trumpet, Saxophone, Tuba, Singer, Songwriter)
Given Name: Charles Ray McCoy
Date of Birth: March 28, 1941
Place of Birth: Bolt, Oak Hill, West Virginia
Married: Susan (div.), Pat
Children: Charlie, Jr., Ginger (both with first wife Susan)
Since 1961, Charlie McCoy has been one of Nashville’s elite studio superpickers. Growing up in Miami, Florida, he began playing harmonica at age eight, and at age 15, started his musical career playing harmonica and guitar in a rock’n’roll band. For a while, he played country and rock, and at the Old South Jamboree, was heard by Mel Tillis, who encouraged him to move to Nashville where he could work as a session player while furthering his solo career.
He arrived in Nashville in 1959, but after auditioning without success for various producers, returned to Florida to study music and take singing lessons. Tillis introduced him to Jim Denny, who helped smooth Charlie’s way as a Nashville session player. His first session was Roy Orbison’s Candy Man, which led to his being one of the busiest session players in country music.
During the early 1960s, he toured with Stonewall Jackson, as his drummer. He signed with Monument Records and released his first single in 1964. Charlie became a member of Area Code 615, a country-rock group, in 1969 and stayed with them during their life. In 1974, Charlie and some of his old friends from Area Code 615 re-formed as Barefoot Jerry.
In addition to several top charting singles on his own, Charlie has been in demand as a session player and has contributed to recordings by such artists as Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, Kris Kristofferson, Joan Baez, Doug Kershaw, Dave Loggins, Paul Simon, Waylon Jennings and Tanya Tucker. Some of his awards include Grammy for "Best Country Instrumental Performance" in 1972, CMA "Musician of the Year" in 1972 and 1973, MCN "Instrumentalist of the Year" in 1973, MCN "Instrumental Entertainer of the Year", and seven ACM "Specialty Instrument" awards in 1978 through 1981, 1983 and 1988.