Beloved veteran country session musician and longtime Grand Ole Opry house band guitarist Jimmy Capps has died at age 81. A spokesperson for the Opry confirmed the news to Billboard, though no cause of death was revealed at press time.
The Musicians Hall of Fame member began his career with the Louvin Brothers in 1958, kicking off a more than half-century career that included laying down iconic licks on such country standards as Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man," George Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today," the Oak Ridge Boys' "Elvira," Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler" and "The Rose" by Conway Twitty.
Along the way, according to a bio on his official site, Capps, born on May 25, 1939, in Fayetteville, North Carolina, averaged 520 recording sessions a year as well as countless performances with the Grand Ole Opry house band, which he joined in 1967. Known for his deft acoustic guitar playing, Capps' name was often mentioned alongside such fellow Nashville guitar legends as Chet Atkins and Grady Martin. With a wide-ranging resume, Capps' session work took him from recordings with such contemporary country stars as Alan Jackson, to work with Junior Brown, Andy Williams, Ray Charles, k.d. lang, Tom Jones and Alvin and the Chipmunks.