Hello fans and fellow players,
Our Hall of Fame steel player to be discussed this week is Mr. Larry Sasser. Larry is known as one of the true gentleman of country music. Although not very old, his approach to steel guitar in country music is one that is very mature. Larry tries very hard to play exactly the correct thing that will fit the song, but still be very stylish when it comes to playing E9th steel guitar.
In 1969 Larry had only been playing a year or two when I met him in Nashville and to be honest, he didn’t start off being a player that would make you say “wow” when you first heard him. However, Larry worked consistently with many big stars even in the beginning of his career. His personality was loved by everyone.
A very country guy born in Gainesville, Georgia on August 19, 1947, Larry was raised with a family that loved country music. At the age of ten Larry heard his first big influence, Josh Graves playing Dobro with Flatt & Scruggs. Larry loved Dobro from that point on, but soon realized that steel guitar would be more to his liking.
In the mid sixties Larry was contacted by a band leader in Georgia wanting him to play steel guitar. Larry immediately got hold of some country music with a lot of steel guitar and was influenced deeply by the late and great Buddy Charleton.
Larry first hit the big time in 1969 when he accepted a job with Del Reeves. Del was an Opry member plus having his own TV show. This was Larry’s introduction to being seen throughout the industry. He later accepted a job with Sammi Smith. Her big hit Help Me Make It Through The Night was a megahit.
Then over the next few years he worked with artists such as Johnny Rodriguez, Johnny Duncan, Charlie Rich and occasionally with Lynn Anderson. Larry is mostly known for his being in the staff band with the Nashville Now television show which was on TNN, hosted by Ralph Emery.
At 42 years of age, Larry was forced into retirement because of illness. Larry has more than 2700 TV shows to his credit. The artists he has worked with on the road and on television shows reads like the Who’s Who of country music.
I remember when I was working with Lynn Anderson, Lynn calling me and telling us our bass player could not do the show that we had coming up and asked me to try to find someone. I played bass and I knew our show with Lynn Anderson very well, so I decided to hire Larry on steel guitar and I played bass. It gave me a chance to do something that I hardly ever got to do and that was to work with another steel player onstage.
I remember we had a lot of fun together on this short tour. If you think one of us was bad enough onstage, two of us was beyond hilarious. Larry has been a great friend of mine for many years and I’m honored to have gone into the Hall of Fame with him. Larry has been a hardcore Emmons pushpull player throughout most of his career. Larry loves the tone and the fact that he needed very little maintenance done on it over the years.
I’m looking forward to seeing Larry at steel guitar shows in the future or have him wander into Steel Guitar Nashville here in the Nashville area in the next few weeks.
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Steel Guitar Nashville
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Hendersonville, TN. 37075
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