LifeNotes: Grammy-Winning Picker Tut Taylor Passes

Tut Taylor

Tut Taylor. Photo: Chris Murphy

Dobro master Tut Taylor has died in North Carolina at age 91.

The former Nashvillian recorded with John Hartford, Leon Russell, Brother Oswald, Norman Blake, Porter Wagoner and others. He made solo albums for Rounder, World Pacific, Takoma and United Artists. His CD with Jerry Douglas, The Great Dobro Sessions, won a 1995 Grammy Award as Best Bluegrass Album.

Taylor was known as a “musician’s musician.” Legendary in bluegrass circles, he also played mandolin, guitar and banjo.

He was born in Georgia in 1923. Inspired by hearing “Bashful” Brother Oswald in Roy Acuff’s Smokey Mountain Boys band, Taylor began playing Dobro at age 14. Early in his career, he performed in The Folkswingers alongside Glen Campbell and members of The Dillards and The Dixie Gentlemen bands. He moved to Nashville in the late 1960s.

In 1970, Taylor co-founded the GTR instrument shop in Music City. This institution became the still-thriving Gruhn Guitars.

Taylor co-founded the long-running Nashville bluegrass nightclub The Old Time Pickin’ Parlor in 1971. He also ran Tut Taylor’s General Store in Nashville beginning around 1979. He produced records by Mark O’Connor, Jerry Douglas, Norman Blake, Brother Oswald and others.

Tut Taylor died Thursday morning, April 8, at the Wilkes Regional Medical Center in North Carolina. He is survived by four sons, three daughters, 16 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. His visitation is today, April 9, from 7-9 p.m. at Miller Funeral Service in Wilkesboro, N.C.

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Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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