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Nashville Guitarist and Producer Chip Young Dead at 76

Chip Young
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Chip Young, a celebrated guitarist and producer who was featured on recordings by some of country music’s top stars, has passed away.

The Nashville Scene reports that Young — whose real name was Jerry Stembridge — died on Saturday night (Dec. 20) at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville, more than three weeks after undergoing triple bypass surgery. He was 76 years old.

Young was born in Atlanta in 1938. He developed a style of guitar playing that utilized heavy thumb picking, influenced heavily by Jerry Reed and Chet Atkins.

By 1956 Young had established himself as a session guitarist, playing on records by Bob Morrison and a young Elvis Presley. He went on to one of the most extensive recording careers of any session guitarist in country music history, logging credits on records by Willie Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Earl Scruggs, George Jones, Guy Clark, Ronnie Milsap, the Oak Ridge Boys, Tanya Tucker and many others.

His contributions to Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’ are among his standout credits, along with a string of records he cut as a member of Elvis’ studio band from 1965 to 1977 that included ‘Guitar Man.’ He also played on Charley Pride’s ‘Kiss an Angel Good Morning,’ among many, many others.

Young also opened his own studio and served as producer or engineer on recordings by artists including Delbert McClinton, Jimmy Buffett, Larry Gatlin, Tom T. Hall, Reba McEntire and more.

“Chip was one of the best, hardest-working session picker/producer/engineers Nashville has ever seen,” his former son-in-law, Bobby Bare, Jr., tells the Scene. “But he was even better at being a Granddad, family man and a Christian. His family will miss him dearly.”

Young is survived by his wife, Diane Parker-Stembridge, and daughter, Megan Lee Bare.

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