Roy's Hand

Our Own
Roy Ayres
2007 Steel Guitar Hall of Fame
Dec. 10, 1929 ~ June 9, 2012

 

 Roy playing "Tennessee Waltz"

 



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Roy Ayres' Career In Music

Roy Ayres began learning to play steel guitar at age 8. His parents gave him a resonator guitar on his thirteenth birthday in 1942. He began a career that has lasted more than 60 years by playing in local schools, courthouses and night clubs. His first electric steel guitar was a six-string Supro guitar.

When Roy was 16 years old, he joined Pee Wee King and the Golden West Cowboys where he performed weekly on the Grand Ole Opry. He played steel guitar on the original recording of "The Tennessee Waltz" which soon became the third biggest record seller of all time. He also played on several other hit records, including "Slow Poke", "Bonaparte's Retreat", "You Belong To Me" and the "Swing West" album. While with the Golden West Cowboys Roy wrote several songs, including "Crazy Waltz" that was recorded by Pee Wee King, Helen O'Connell and Giselle McKinsey and Dave Cavanaugh's orchestra. He played on scores of record sessions at the King Record Company with numerous artists such as Cowboy Copas, Redd Stewart, Hawkshaw Hawkins, and Moon Mulligan.

Roy spent five years at the University of Louisville in Kentucky where he earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in physics. While attending college, he played in local nightclubs in the Louisville area. He then spent eight years in California as an aerospace physicist, after which he joined the Fender Musical Instrument Company where he remained for about two years as Director of String Instrument Development. While at Fender he personally designed the Fender "Bronco" guitar and the re-issued model of the Fender " Precision” bass.

At the 2004 International Steel Guitar Convention, Roy was surprised on his 75th birthday when his wife, Laurie gave him a new custom built Excel Superb steel guitar. His first engagement on his new steel guitar was that same day at the Hawaiian Show at the Convention.

Roy was inducted into the Seattle, Washington "Pioneers of Western Swing" Hall of Fame in 2004 honoring him as one of the musicians who pioneered in the Western Swing genre, and into the Sacramento, California "Western Swing Music" Hall of Fame in 2006 further honoring him as one who has helped keep Western Swing alive over the years. His greatest honor was his induction at the age of 77 into the prestigious "International Steel Guitar Hall Of Fame" at the 36th International Steel Guitar Convention in St. Louis in September, 2007. Roy is the 57th person to have ever been inducted into this great Hall of Fame.

Roy lives in Riverview, Florida with his wife, Laurie, and they attend most of the Manasota Steel Guitar Club jam sessions in Bradenton. They also travel often to the various steel guitar concerts around the nation.
 



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