Steel Guitar Legend Hal Rugg Dies

Legendary session musician Hal Rugg, whose steel guitar work helped define Loretta Lynn’s classic recordings of the ’60s and ’70s, died Tuesday (Aug. 9) in Tucson, Ariz., at age 69 following a lengthy battle with cancer. Rugg was born in New York City but began performing in Tucson clubs during the ’50s. He worked in Illinois and Minnesota before moving to Nashville in 1961. He toured with several artists before becoming a member of George Jones’ band in 1963. Rugg’s first recording session in Nashville was with Jones. Settling into studio work, Rugg recorded with Floyd Tillman, Ray Pillow, Ray Stevens, Ronnie Milsap, Ray Price, Barbara Mandrell, Leon Russell, Eddie Rabbitt, Joan Baez and many others. Inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 1989, Rugg continued to perform at steel guitar conventions and seminars throughout the nation after moving back to Tucson several years ago. Funeral services will be held Aug. 18 at the Emanuel Lutheran Church in the Nashville suburb of Hermitage, Tenn.