BEULAVILLE – The sudden death of the man known as the “king” of Nashville, Tennessee session guitarists, Jimmy Capps, earlier this month has had a big impact on the country music world. Jimmy Capps died June 1st at the age of 81. He grew up in Benson, NC. After being hired at the age of 19 by the Louvin Brothers, Jimmy began his music career that landed him a job as a guitarist on the Grand Ole Opry for the past 50 years. He was also The Sheriff on Larry’s Country Diner.
Jimmy never forgot his roots. In May 2019, he headlined a concert with the Malpass Brothers at Crossroads Church in Benson and signed copies of his book The Man in Back. All of his shows were sold out.
One of his friends was musician Charlie Albertson of Beulaville in Duplin County. Known affectionately as the ‘Singing Senator’, Charlie represented Duplin, Sampson and Lenoir counties in the NC Senate from 1993 to 2010. While not in session at the General Assembly in Raleigh, Charlie was a farmer and professional musician, songwriter, publisher, and recording artist. The “Charlie Albertson Show” has been ongoing for more than 50 years, including an appearance on the Grand Old Opry. He got to know Jimmy Capps and they formed a friendship that lasted for decades.
Jimmy played guitar on nearly all of Charlie’s recordings including two of his most well-known singles, a promotional song he wrote for the N.C. Department of Agriculture “Goodness Grows in North Carolina” and a song about the Tarheel state titled “Carolina – A Place I Got To Be.”
“My friendship with Jimmy goes back 60 years. He was at some of the same places we were playing on Saturday nights when he wasn’t busy. We did a TV program on Channel 9 in Greenville (NC). That’s when I got to know him better. I recorded all my songs with him with just one or two exceptions,” he said.
Charlie was deeply moved when he learned of Jimmy’s death. He had already been working on a tribute song to Jimmy for the past couple of years. Charlie hadn’t finished it yet, but shared a portion of the song with Jimmy when they visited one another in Benson last year. “I had just written one verse. I played it for him when I met him up there that day. No one had ever written a song about Jimmy. After his death, I finished it and went up to the studio in Newton Grove and got it recorded.”
The Jimmy Capps Tribute Song was released by Charlie on the day of Jimmy Capps funeral.
“I thought Jimmy was so deserving,” Charlie added, then paused as he reflected on his friend. Charlie hopes the song will draw attention to his late friend, the legendary guitarist, and music icon. Jimmy Capps was never one to draw attention to himself. His book was so appropriately titled, The Man in Back.
For many, Jimmy Capps was a legend and a hero. In Jimmy’s book, Charlie Daniels wrote, “I met Jimmy when we were both just young boys… He was my hero then and he’s my hero now.”
After Jimmy’s passing, the author of The Man in Back Scot England told MusicRow.com, “I am convinced that Jimmy was the most-loved person in Nashville. EVERY artist loved him so much.” Steve Goetzman from the group Exile said, ““Jimmy was a big man in more ways than stature alone. He left us at a time when the world needs more like him.”