Ray Edenton

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Ray Edenton
Birth nameRay Quarles Edenton
Born(1926-11-03)November 3, 1926
Mineral, Virginia, U.S.
DiedSeptember 21, 2022(2022-09-21) (aged 95)
Goodlettsville, Tennessee, U.S.
GenresCountry, rock and roll
Instrument(s)Guitar, mandolin, banjo, bass, ukelele
Years active1949–1991

Ray Quarles Edenton (November 3, 1926 – September 21, 2022) was an American guitarist and country music session musician.[1]

Early life[edit]

Ray Edenton was born into a musical family on November 3, 1926, and grew up near Mineral, Virginia.[2] His first instrument was a banjo ukelele, and by the age of six he was performing with his two brothers and cousins at square dances in the area.[3][4]

After serving in World War II with the United States Army, he joined guitarist Joe Maphis as the bassist in a group called the Korn Krackers, a regular feature of the Old Dominion Barn Dance show on WRVA, a radio station in Richmond, Virginia.[1] In 1949, he moved to Knoxville, Tennessee to work at radio station WNOX but was sidelined by tuberculosis (he had a 28-month hospital stay) with before moving to Nashville where he began to play acoustic guitar on the Grand Ole Opry.[4]


Considered one of Nashville's most prolific studio musicians, Edenton played on more than 12,000 recording sessions as a member of The Nashville A-Team.[5] He played on his first session, American country music singer Red Kirk's recording of "Lovesick Blues" for Mercury Records, in 1949.[6] His first appearance on a major hit was on Webb Pierce's 1953 single "There Stands the Glass.[7] Edenton played on 26 of Pierce's 27 chart-topping country singles and also on such well-known recordings as the Everly Brothers' "Bye Bye Love" and "Wake Up Little Susie", Marty Robbins' "Singing the Blues", and Roger Miller's "King of the Road".[5]

Edenton accompanied other artists on recordings including Julie Andrews, the Beach Boys, jazz vibraphonist Gary Burton, Sammy Davis Jr., Henry Mancini, Reba McEntire, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Leon Russell, and Neil Young.[4][5][7]

Though Edenton could play lead guitar and a variety of other instruments, he is best known as an acoustic and rhythm guitar player.

Edenton retired in 1991.[1] He died on September 21, 2022, at the age of 95, in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Kienzle, Rich (2012). "Ray Edenton". In Kingsbury, Paul; McCall, Michael; Rumble, John (eds.). The Encyclopedia of Country Music (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-19-539563-1. OCLC 778339718.
  2. ^ a b Friskics-Warren, Bill (September 27, 2022). "Ray Edenton, 'A-Team' Studio Guitarist in Nashville, Dies at 95". The New York Times. Retrieved September 27, 2022.
  3. ^ "Ray Edenton". NAMM.org. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c McCall, Michael. "Nashville Cats: Salute to Ray Edenton". Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Archived from the original on September 26, 2018. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Friskics-Warren, Bill (October 5, 2007). "Country Music Hall of Fame Salutes 'Nashville Cat'". Nashville, Tennessee: The Tennessean. p. F3.
  6. ^ Roland, Tom; Orr, Jay (June 21, 1998). "Nashville's 'A Team': The Unsung Heroes of the Nashville Sound". Nashville, Tennessee: The Tennessean. pp. 135–142.
  7. ^ a b "Ray Edenton: Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved January 21, 2018.

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