LifeNotes: Songwriter Herb McCullough Dies

Herb McCollugh

Herb McCollugh

Veteran Nashville songwriter Herb McCullough died at home in Florida on Tuesday, May 5, at age 70.

More than 100 albums contain his tunes. Among the stars who’ve recorded his songs are Diamond Rio, Josh Turner, Charley Pride, Highway 101, Wade Hayes, Rhett Akins, Hal Ketchum, Mel McDaniel, Mark Chesnutt, Joy Lynn White, T.G. Sheppard, Marie Osmond and John Schneider.

John Anderson made the country charts with McCullough’s cowritten “Down in the Orange Grove” in 1988. Although the songwriter never had a major hit, his songs were recorded steadily for more than 30 years.

He is particularly noted for bluegrass recordings. Among the genre’s stars who have recorded Herb McCullough songs are The Seldom Scene, The Lynn Morris Band, Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike, The Isaacs, Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time, Harley Allen, David Parmley and Mike Auldridge. Among McCullough’s best-known bluegrass tunes is “The Man with the Travelin’ Teardrop Blues,” as popularized by The Del McCoury Band in 2001.

He frequently collaborated with dulcimer virtuoso David Schnaufer (1952-2006) and with good friend Shawn Camp. Other Americana artists who recorded McCullough songs include Barry & Holly Tashian, Rattlesnake Annie, Hobo Jim, Toni Price and Jim Rooney.

Herb McCullough moved to Nashville from Winter Haven, Fla., in 1974 at age 30. He signed his first song-publishing contract in 1978, the year that Moe Bandy became the first of many artists to record his songs.

He retired to Apopka, Fla. several years ago. Herb McCullough is survived by his wife, Joann, daughter Christie Williams and son Sean McCullough. At his request, he will be cremated today, May 11, with a celebration of life to follow on May 16 at the Dunnellon, Fla., Funeral Home.


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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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