Nashville Guitarist And Producer Chip Young Dies

chip

Jerry Marvin Stembridge, a.k.a. Chip Young. Photo: Leigh Douglas

Renowned session guitarist and producer Chip Young passed away at 76 on Saturday, December 20, 2014.

For over four decades, Chip Young 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 helmed recordings by acts such as Delbert McClintonJerry ReedGary Stewart (“Your Place or Mine”), and Billy Swan (“I Can Help”). More recently, Young played on recordings by My Morning JacketTodd 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-MargretEddy ArnoldSkeeter DavisWaylon JenningsGeorge JonesWillie 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 ElyLarry Gatlin,Tom T. HallReba McEntireJohnny 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 AtkinsGrady Martin and Scotty Moore. Young was inducted into the National Thumbpickers Hall of Fame in 2009.

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