Burt Hutcherson

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This rhythm guitarist was the strong right arm of, and eventually the only original member in, the Gully Jumpers, an old-time country band led to fame in the radio-hungry Nashville scene of the '20s by…
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This rhythm guitarist was the strong right arm of, and eventually the only original member in, the Gully Jumpers, an old-time country band led to fame in the radio-hungry Nashville scene of the '20s by a car mechanic named Paul Warmack. By the time the Grand Old Opry had had enough gully jumping, it was 1960 and a push was on to make the Nashville venue more hip to younger generational vibes, meaning the antique performers from the hillbilly radio days were shown the door. Burt Hutcherson was the only surviving member of the group at this point, his boss Warmack having passed on in 1954. The group's repertoire was extremely engaging, mixing together the zany humor of pop music of the day with sentiment of old-time music and the elaborate, off-the-wall harmonization of its string instruments. Hutcherson's stock in trade was a style of rhythm guitar picking in which chords are alternated with sharply pricked bass and mid-range notes. "Little Red Caboose Behind the Train" not only makes many lists of great train songs, but places high in the sub-category of train songs in which the rhythm guitar playing is particularly railroadish. He also began playing pedal steel during the long Opry stint and this side of his musical universe also seems to have been influential. Pedal steel guitarist Leroy "Little Roy" Wiggins is one of a number of country instrumentalists who has admitted to having been influenced to begin playing by the sound of Hutcherson's steel guitar on the Opry. "It was the prettiest thing I ever heard," is Wiggins' recollection.