Birth: 1937-03-20 - Death: 2008-09-01 | Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia
Jerry Reed made indelible marks on country music as a recording artist, a songwriter, and a virtuoso guitarist.
Reed’s guitar work was marked by syncopation and complexity, while his songwriting and stage persona conveyed strutting wit and backwoods intelligence. Raised in Georgia, he moved to Nashville in 1962, taking jobs as a session guitarist and writing songs for country heavies including Porter Wagoner. Encouraged by guitar great Chet Atkins, Reed developed an instantly recognizable and idiosyncratic guitar style that suited humor-filled compositions including “Guitar Man” and “Amos Moses.” He and Atkins won a 1970 Grammy for instrumental album Me and Jerry, and Reed followed that a year later with a Grammy for country male vocal performance on “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot.” A third Grammy, this one for country instrumental performance, came in 1993 for another duo effort with Atkins.
Other major Reed hits include “Lord, Mr. Ford,” “East Bound and Down,” and “She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft).” He also won positive notice for his acting roles in films including W.W. and the Dixie Dance Kings, and Smokey and the Bandit.
“Every move he made was to entertain, and make the world more fun,” said Reed devotee Brad Paisley. “Because he was such a great, colorful personality with his acting and songs and entertaining, sometimes people didn’t even notice that he was just about the best guitarist you’ll ever hear.”