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
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.