PASSES AT 79
James "Spider" Wilson
Longtime Grand Ole Opry staff guitarist James Edward Spider
died of complications from cancer Thursday (February
26) in Nashville. He was 79.
A native of Nashville, Wilson reportedly fueled his enthusiasm
for music by standing outside an open window of the Ryman Auditorium
listening to Hank Williams Opry performances.
His big break came when he joined Little Jimmy Dickens
band in the early 50s. He also toured with Ray Price
before joining the Grand Ole Opry staff band in 1953.
We would work with anybody who came in and didnt
have a band, Wilson explained in an interview for the NAMM
oral history program. Or we would work individually different
assignments or just part of (an artists) band. You always
had to be there and ready to go, you know a very complex
Fellow Opry guitarist Jimmy Capps said in the same NAMM
interview, I always called Spider an elephant man
because if some artist asked me to work, Id have to go ask
him to hum the intro to it because hed remember it no matter
how far it went back in time.
In addition to his Opry work, Wilson was also a popular studio
musician, recording with such major acts as Price, Marty
Robbins, Bill Anderson, Faron Young and Dolly
His prominence as a player made him a familiar figure on most
of the country music television shows originating in Nashville.
Friends may pay their respects on Sunday (March 1) from 2-8 p.m.
at Woodbine Hickory Chapel in Nashville.