Renowned session guitarist and producer Chip Young will be saluted on Saturday, October 9, as part of the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s popular series Nashville Cats: A Celebration of Music City Musicians. The program, which will begin at 1:30 PM in the Museum’s Ford Theater, is included with Museum admission and free to Museum members. The program will also be streamed live at www.countrymusichalloffame.org.
Hosted by Bill Lloyd, the tribute to Young will include a brief performance and an in-depth, one-on-one interview illustrated with vintage recordings, photos and film clips from the Museum’s Frist Library and Archive. Immediately following the program, Young will sign autographs in the Museum Store.
For over four decades, Chip Young has lent his distinctive thumb-style picking to timeless country recordings, including Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” Elvis Presley’s “Guitar Man,” and Charley Pride’s “Kiss an Angel Good Morning.” As a producer, he has helmed recordings by acts such as Delbert McClinton, Jerry Reed, Gary Stewart (“Your Place or Mine”), and Billy Swan (“I Can Help”). More recently, Young has played on recordings by My Morning Jacket, Todd Snider and Candi Staton.
Born Jerry Marvin Stembridge in 1938, the Atlanta native began his professional career playing with guitar legend Jerry Reed and singer-songwriter Joe South during the late 1950s. Young toured with South and eventually signed with Lowery Music, where he began writing songs, engineering recordings and publishing demos. He joined the Army in 1961, and after his discharge in 1963 Young moved to Nashville to become a touring guitarist behind Reed.
Young soon became an in-demand studio guitarist in Nashville, and went on to back Ann-Margret, Eddy Arnold, Skeeter Davis, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley, among many others. Young was also a regular member of Presley’s studio band between 1965 and 1977.
In 1968, Young bought a farm in nearby Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and opened his own studio, Young ’Un Sound. He produced recordings by country artists Reed, Swan and Delbert McClinton, as well as artists on the popular charts including Jimmy Buffett and Johnny Mathis. Young opened a Nashville studio in 1978, where he recorded Joe Ely, Larry Gatlin, Tom T. Hall, Reba McEntire, Johnny Rodriguez and the Statler Brothers.
In 2000, Young released Having Thumb Fun with My Friends, an album of guitar duets with other studio legends, including Chet Atkins, Grady Martin and Scotty Moore. Young was inducted into the National Thumbpickers Hall of Fame in 2009. He remains active today as a session musician and a producer.
Museum programs are made possible, in part, by grants from the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission and by an agreement between the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.