Kerry Marx

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Kerry Marx
Kerry Marx - Opry Picture.jpg
Background information
BornAiken, South Carolina
Occupation(s)Studio musician
South Carolina Entertainment & Music Hall of Fame (Inducted 2023)

Kerry Alan Marx is an American guitarist and studio musician who has served as Music Director of the Grand Ole Opry since 2018. He is best known for his work with that organization,[1][2] where he has been staff guitarist since 2000.[3] He has been described as being among "Nashville's most in-demand musicians",[4] and has played with many notable musicians including Johnny Cash,[5] Taylor Swift, John Legend, James Taylor, and Steven Tyler. He was guitarist for the CD "Songs From The Neighborhood," which received a Grammy award, the album Many Moods of Moses which received a Grammy nomination, and for the 2 time multi-platinum self-titled album by musical group Blackhawk.

Marx was also a member of The Johnny Cash Show band,[6] and toured extensively with Don McLean. In March 2023, Marx was inducted into the South Carolina Entertainment & Music Hall of Fame.[7][8][9]


Born in Aiken, South Carolina,[7] Marx studied music at the University of South Carolina;[10] a 1971 article noted that he was a "stand-in bass guitarist" for a band called Wax Bean, the winning band in an Aiken Battle of the Bands.[11] He then went on to concentrate in jazz guitar while attending North Texas State University in Denton, TX.[10] He moved to Nashville in 1981 and has played a variety of jazz, pop, rock, and country music in the Nashville recording scene.[10] Marx "broke into the demo scene gradually, in between road trips".[12] Marx related the frustrations of working as a session musician during that time, noting that session producers often did not convey their thoughts about whether the session had gone well. On one song recorded by both Mark Chesnutt and Chad Mullins, Marx "came up with a guitar line that the publisher said he wasn't crazy about", but that Marx then heard on the records, "played by a steel instead of a guitar"—an experience that Marx said "reassures me about my song sense and session sense".[12]

Marx toured with artists such as Ray Price (1979–1981), Jerry Reed (1981–1983), Razzy Bailey (1983–1984), Ronnie Milsap (1984–1987), Johnny Cash (1989–1992), Toby Keith and Shania Twain (1993), Don McLean (2001–2023), Lee Ann Womack (2004), Porter Wagoner (2006), Steve Wariner (2006–2007), Lynda Carter (2008–2022),[13] Olivia Newton-John (2012–2018), Johnny Mathis (2016-2022).[10] A 1986 review of a Ronnie Milsap benefit concert in Durham, North Carolina noted that despite the country tones of the show, "other aspects of the performance more closely resembled a rock concert, such as Kerry Marx's soaring lead guitar solo".[14] He was noted for his contribution to Cash's song, "I'm an Easy Rider" from the 1991 album, The Mystery of Life, described as "a road song featuring Kerry Marx's hard-edged and doubled-up baritone guitar".[15] In 2000, he was lead guitarist in TNN's Prime Time Country band.[16] A 2001 review of the Grand Ole Opry house band noted that "pianist Tim Atwood and guitarist Kerry Marx play with rare taste, feel, and soul".[17]

Marx has performed and composed for major networks, most notably for the Lionel Richie Special (2012), Hannah Montana, American Music Awards (2005–2017), Billboard Music Awards (20012–2022), Academy of Country Music Awards (2003–2022), CMA Christmas (2012–2019), Country Music Association (CMA) Awards (2011-2021, 1992 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, and the 1985 Grammy Awards.[10] Working with Lynda Carter, Marx also performed original music for the 2015 video game, Fallout 4. In 2020, he performed on a Christmas project for sisters Kandy Isley and Kim Johnson.[18] In February 2021, Marx was one of four members of the Opry house band brought into Daywind Studios in Hendersonville, Tennessee, as an electric guitarist on the Darin & Brooke Aldridge song, "Grand Ole Circle".[19][20]

In March 2023, Marx was inducted into the South Carolina Entertainment & Music Hall of Fame for his music career,[7][8][9] and in May 2023, Marx toured with Don McLean in Australia.[21]



Guitarist and composer[edit]


Live TV credits[edit]


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  1. ^ "Country singer graciously shares his memorable night at the Opry". The Augusta Chronicle. May 9, 2006. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  2. ^ Hollabaugh, Lorie (December 3, 2013). "Artist Updates". Music Row. Retrieved January 3, 2014.
  3. ^ Waddell, Ray (June 17, 2000). "Strong Support System: Opry Band, Singers and Dancers Think and Play on Their Feet". Billboard. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  4. ^ Schube, Will (September 7, 2021). "Kristin Chenoweth Announces Holiday Album, 'Happiness Is...Christmas!'". Chenoweth teamed up with award-winning producers Jay Landers (Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler) and Fred Mollin (Jimmy Webb, Johnny Mathis) for the album... The duo enlisted a group of Nashville's most in-demand musicians for the recording sessions, including guitarists Bryan Sutton and Kerry Marx...
  5. ^ Washburn, Jim (August 10, 1992). "Pop Music Review: Johnny Cashes In on the Past at the Coach House". L.A. Times. Retrieved January 3, 2014.
  6. ^ Smith, John L. (1999). Another song to sing: the recorded repertoire of Johnny Cash. Scarecrow Press.
  7. ^ a b c Moore, Stephanie (March 27, 2023). "4 new inductees announced for SC Entertainment & Music Hall of Fame". WYFF 4. The third inductee for 2023 is Kerry Marx. Marx is the current music director at the Grand Ole Opry and has been since 2018. Before that, Marx was a guitarist at the Grand Ole Opry. He is from Aiken, South Carolina.
  8. ^ a b Putnam, Jeannie (March 28, 2023). "Three Upstate entertainers named 2023 SC Entertainment & Music Hall of Fame inductees". Greenville Journal.
  9. ^ a b "Hall of Fame Induction Show, Inductees for June 3rd., 2023". South Carolina Hall of Fame.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Kerry Marx". Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  11. ^ "'Wax Bean' Is Winner In Battle Of Bands", Aiken Standard (November 3, 1971), p. 4-B.
  12. ^ a b Dan Daley, Nashville's Unwritten Rules-Inside The Business of Country Music (The Overlook Press, 1998), p. 268-70, ISBN 0879518898.
  13. ^ Schwind, Brady. "Lynda Carter "This Life: My Music, My Story", At Jazz At Lincoln Center".
  14. ^ Bob Nowell, "Milsap weaves many influences into a memorable show", The Raleigh News and Observer (June 4, 1986), p. 11B.
  15. ^ C. Eric Banister, Johnny Cash FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the Man in Black (Backbeat Books, 2014), p. 330. ISBN 978-1480385405
  16. ^ Jay Orr, "'Opry' in the Pews Again: Month at Mother Church could mark the show's rebirth", The Tennessean (January 6, 2000), p. 1F, 4F
  17. ^ "For great music, look into the shadows", The Tennessean (August 24, 2001), p, 7F.
  18. ^ Kevin C. Johnson, "Sibling singers come up with their own Christmas project", St. Louis Post-Dispatch (December 25, 2020), p. G7.
  19. ^ Roland, Tom (April 13, 2022). "Makin' Tracks: Bluegrass Duo Darin & Brooke Aldridge Honor Opry With 'Grand Ole Circle'".
  20. ^ Lawless, John (January 28, 2022). "Grand Ole Circle video from Darin & Brooke Aldridge". Bluegrass Today.
  21. ^ Cashmere, Paul (May 1, 2023). "Don McLean Goes Out On The Top Of His Game On Final Australian Tour". The credentials in this band are worldclass. Guitarist Kerry Marx worked with Johnny Cash and when he isn't touring with Don is a member of the Grand Old Opry staff band performing with over 10 artists a week at the legendary Nashville music venue.

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