Weldon Myrick, whose weeping and rollicking steel guitar flourishes graced hits as diverse as Connie Smith's "Once a Day" and Alan Jackson's "Chattahoochee," died Monday (June 2) in Nashville following a stroke. He was 76.
Born April 10, 1938, in Jayton, Texas, Myrick began his love affair with the steel guitar at the age of 8, experimenting with an instrument his older brother left behind when he joined the Air Force. By 13, he had his own steel and was soon good enough to be playing with a band on a local radio station. Before he was out of high school, he was backing Grand Ole Opry stars touring through his part of the state.
After moving to Nashville in 1963, he met Bill Anderson, who had become an Opry member two years earlier. Anderson was sufficiently impressed by Myrick's playing to invite him to join his Po' Folks band. A year after his arrival in Nashville, he was hired to play on Smith's recording of "Once a Day," a song written by Anderson.
From 1966 until 1998, Myrick was a member of the Grand Ole Opry staff band. He also found time to tour with such acts as Smith, Jean Shepard, Billy Walker, Loretta Lynn and others.
As a session musician, he recorded with an astounding array of country and pop artists, including Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, Brenda Lee, Charley Pride, Dolly Parton, Jerry Lee Lewis, George Strait, Trisha Yearwood, Reba McEntire, Chet Atkins, Willie Nelson, the Statler Brothers, Tanya Tucker, Joan Baez, Delbert McClinton, the Pointer Sisters and Cat Stevens.
He also appeared on a number of television series, among them Hee Haw and shows hosted by Johnny Cash, Jimmy Dean, Jim & Jesse and Marty Stuart.
Myrick was elected to the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 1997.