Welcome to Mellow's Log Cabin. This blog's purpose is to supply information on a diversity of American southern music - ranging from country, blues, old-time and folk to R&B, rock'n'roll and rockabilly. I regularly present my research results about artists, labels, shows and also give guest writers a chance to publish their texts here on occasion.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Jimmie Colvard: Six Strings on the Road

Born around 1943, guitar playing talent Jimmy Colvard never really got the recognition he derserves. He was an innovative musician and a much used session guitarist but never really found fame. The cause of this maybe was his early death.

Colvard originally hailed from Minnesota and was playing in St.Paul-Minneapolis as early as 1957 when he was still in his teens. He performed some with his steel guitar playing friend Al Udeen and learned to play Buddy Emmons licks on his guitar. Back then, Colvard was living in St. Paul and in 1958, both Colvard and Udeen took part in some package tours across Minnesota with big country music stars like Wanda Jackson, George Jones, Bobby Lord, Marvin Rainwater and others.

Later on, he founded the Jimmy Colvard Trio with Orlo and Marvis Thompson being the other members of the band. Colvard played each week at the Flame Cafe in Minneapolis, which also featured other local acts of the time including Dave Dudley and Dick Van Hale. Colvard would play in the front lounge first with his band and then he would open the show for the big stars at the back room of the Cafe, which had a large stage. The house band at the back room was a western swing combo led by fiddler Leon Boulanger. Colvard would also play with this outfit.

Around the same time, the aforementioned Dave Dudley was making a name for himself as a singer around Minneapolis. He signed with Golden Wing in 1962 and one year later, he recorded "Six Days on the Road" at the Kay Bank studios. Lead guitarist on this session was Jimmy Colvard, who played a "popping" sound that day which eventually would become a significant element of trucker country music. The success of the song led Dudley to sign with Mercury and he re-cut "Six Days" in 1964 in Nashville. He had told Colvard he would play guitar on that session but when Colvard arrived at the studio, he learned that John Voit played guitar.

Colvard then returned to Minneapolis and recorded an instrumental version of the song with his trio for Rosie Records, a subsidiary of Golden Wing (after a legal disput called Golden Ring). But Colvard did not stay too long there and soon left for Nashville, where he found work as a session guitarist and also went on the road. He recorded with such big names as Faron Young, Don Williams, Cal Smith, Connie Francis, Charlie Walker, Dolly Parton, Little Jimmy Dickens and lots of others. During this time, he lived with his wife Laura in Hermitage, Tennessee. Sadly, Jimmy Colvard took his life in 1977 in Nisswa, Minneapolis.

You can see a couple of nice photos and hear Colvard's Rosie single on Some Local Loser.

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