Here we have a man who is a king even among Nashville session royalty. Jimmy Capps has made as many records as a hat store has, well, caps. He seems to have a particular touch with acoustic guitar, and is known not only for jumpy solos but for concocting simple bits of riff business that help set up a song, one example among many being the introduction to Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler." While a scan at some session players' discography provokes yawns and feelings of sympathy for what the player must have had to put up with, Capps seems to really have had it pretty good in his endeavors picking behind a wonderful cross-section of country & western artists. One should expect nothing less, since Capps makes all the short lists of players responsible for building country arches of triumph such as the Nashville sound and the Opry sound. One writer narrowed his list down to three key session players, pianist Hargus "Pig" Robbins, steel guitarist Pete Wade, and Capps. When a frugal 1968 Opry manager decided to trim the list of nearly two dozen pickers ambling off and on-stage, Capps of course made the cut along with great players such as Harold Weakley, Spider Wilson, Leon Rhodes, and Buddy Harman. Capps is also likely to make lists of great country guitar pickers, regardless of Opry affiliation, in the company of Chet Atkins, Roy Nichols, and Grady Martin. "He assembled a group of Nashville's finest session players, then put Jimmy Capps in charge of the whole thing," is a liner note detail chosen as evidence of his importance even amongst his talented peers. Capps won Nashville's Golden R.O.P.E. award for musician of the year in 2001.
Capps' recording ventures demonstrate not only his allegiance to quality country but his ability to stay in demand among new performers in the genre; he has cut with Alan Jackson as well as Ernest Tubb, for example. The recordings of Kenny Rogers are certainly among the best-selling to feature Capps, usually playing in tandem with the fine Ray Edenton. Pop performers that have put Capps on their studio hat rack include John Denver, Tom Jones, and J.J. Cale. The latter artist was fond of acoustic interaction with Capps and featured the Nashville pro on most of his recordings. Capps also had great moments on K.D. Lang's Shadowland album, while fans of serious honky onkin' may want to check out the Junior Brown albums that Capps appears on. The young at heart or rodent-obsessed are free to thrill to Capps' picking behind the Chipmunks on the Urban Chipmunk project.