Ralph Emery attends the 2011 Country Music Hall of Fame Medallion Ceremony induction at Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on May 22, 2011 in Nashville and Bobbie Nelson attends the 2017 Texas Medal of Arts Awards at The Bass Concert Hall on February 22, 2017 in Austin.
Ed Rode/Getty Images and Gary Miller/Getty Images

Country Music Talents We've Lost in 2022


Advertisement

Country stars and country-adjacent celebrities lost during the first three months of the year include broadcast pioneers, country-punks and transformative songwriters and producers.

Read on for a roundup of talents we've lost so far in 2022.

Jerry Crutchfield (Aug. 10, 1934 - Jan. 11, 2022)

Kentucky native Jerry Crutchfield produced gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums for the likes of Lee Greenwood, Tanya Tucker, Chris LeDoux and Tracy Byrd. He also wrote songs cut by Brenda Lee ("My Whole World is Falling Down") and Elvis Presley ("Find Out What's Happening").

Fred Geiger (1940 - Jan. 12, 2022)

Banjo picker and instructor Fred Geiger died in an early morning house fire at his Maryland residence. Per Bluegrass Today, Geiger wrote a column for Banjo NewsLetter from the early 1980s until 2017.

Advertisement

Dallas Frazier (Oct. 27, 1939 - Jan. 14, 2022)

Dallas Frazier belongs in the Country Music Hall of Fame for writing or co-writing multiple all-time great country songs: Jack Greene's "There Goes My Everything," Charley Pride's "All I Have To Offer You (Is Me)"," The Oak Ridge Boys' "Elvira," Emmylou Harris' "Beneath Still Waters," the often-covered "Carolina Cotton Fields" and too many Connie Smith classics to list.

Ralph Emery (March 10, 1933 - Jan. 15, 2022)

Syndicated TV series Pop! Goes the Country and subsequent gigs for TNN and RFD-TV made veteran DJ Ralph Emery a constant, coast-to-coast presence in the living rooms of country fans.

Hargus "Pig" Robbins (Jan. 18, 1938 - Jan. 30, 2022)

Country Music Hall of Fame keyboardist and A-team session musician Hargus "Pig" Robbins played on such seminal hit songs as George Jones' "White Lightnin'" and Roger Miller's "Dang Me."

Advertisement

Dallas Good (1973 - Feb. 17, 2022)

Dallas Good and his brother Travis (sons of Bruce Good from bluegrass act The Good Brothers) helped dictate the shape of alt-country to come as members of Toronto-based band the Sadies.

Scotty Wray (Nov. 22, 1957 - Feb. 18, 2022)

A former member of family band The Wrays alongside his famous brother Collin Raye, Scotty Wray earned a reputation of his own across a 20-year run as Miranda Lambert's guitarist.

Sam Henry (Dec. 28, 1956 - Feb. 20, 2022)

Sam Henry, a drummer for honky-tonk bands in the Pacific Northwest in the '70s, played on early albums by punk greats and Kurt Cobain favorites Wipers. Late in life, he performed with fellow country-punks in Jenny Don't and The Spurs.

Advertisement

Mike Dekle (June 25, 1944 - Feb. 24, 2022)

Longtime Athens, Ga. resident Mike Dekle wrote or co-wrote several songs cut by Kenny Rogers, namely "Scarlet Fever," a Top 5 country hit in 1983. Dekle later became a collaborator and mentor of Brantley Gilbert.

Warner Mack (April 2, 1935 - March 1, 2022)

The rare Nashville native-turned-country star, Warner Mack charted 23 hits between the late 1950s and the early 1980s. He's best known for "Is It Wrong (For Loving You)" (1957) and "The Bridge Washed Out" (1965).

Jim Owens (Aug. 27, 1937 - March 4, 2022)

The late producer Jim Owens shaped country music's television presence, starting in the '70s with the launch of the fan-voted Music City News Country Awards. In 1983, he first paired Crook & Chase, the still active entertainment and music-reporting duo of Charlie Chase and Owens' wife for nearly four decades, Lorianne Crook.

Advertisement

Bobbie Nelson (Jan. 1, 1931 - March 10, 2022)

Keyboardist and pianist Bobbie Nelson, Willie Nelson's older sister and longtime collaborator, had toured and recorded with his Family Band since the 1970s.

Brad Martin (May 3, 1973 - March 11, 2022)

Brad Martin's lone major label full-length, 2002's Wings of a Honky-Tonk Angel, entered the Billboard Top Country Album's Top 40. Its best-known single, "Before I Knew Better" brought Martin's tradition-exalting sound to the Top 15.

Bruce Birch (Jan. 30, 1953 - March 12, 2022)

Bruce Birch, co-writer of Reba McEntire hits "Rumor Has It" and "It's Your Call," died from complications from leukemia. As creative director of EMI Music Publishing, the Gainesville, Ga. native helped young songwriters perfect their craft.

Advertisement

Mary Jane Thomas (1963? - March 23, 2022)

Hank Williams Jr. and wife Mary Jane Williams attend 24th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards on April 10, 1989 at Disney Studios in Burbank, Cal.

Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Hank Williams Jr.'s wife since 1990 and the mother of country singer-songwriter Sam Williams died from a complication following a medical procedure.

Bonnie "Woo" Taggert (September 9, 1942 - March 25,2022)

Bonnie "Woo" Taggert's roles in the country music business included director of creative services roles for Warner Bros. and Capitol Records. She later started her own agency, BRPR, and signed Chet Atkins as her first client. After marrying golf pro Joe Taggert in 1990, the industry veteran helped Vince Gill create his fundraising golf tournament, The Vinny.

Jeff Carson (Dec. 16, 1963 - March 26, 2022)

Oklahoma native Jeff Carson scored a series of country hits in the 1990s, including No. 1 "Not on Your Love" and Top 10 entries "The Car" and "Holdin' Onto Somethin'." He also recorded "Today I Started Loving You Again" with its legendary co-writer, Merle Haggard.

James Taft Moore III (1938- March 29, 2022)

As a photographer, James "Jimmy" Taft Moore III shot photos for gospel and country album covers and was part of the Johnny Cash Show staff. He was also an accomplished poet, actor and director and was a regular on Hee Haw.

Advertisement

C.W. McCall (Nov. 15, 1928 - April 1, 2022)

C.W. McCall, the alter ego of ad executive Bill Fries, scored a surprise crossover pop hit in the mid-'70s with the CB radio lingo-filled recitation song "Convoy." It inspired a Kris Kristofferson film of the same title. The McCall character scored a second hit with "Roses for Mama," a song previously recorded by fellow trucker song trendsetter Red Sovine.

Roland White (April 23, 1938 - April 1, 2022)

Bluegrass vocalist and mandolin marvel Roland White etched his name in history during stints with the Kentucky Colonels, Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, Lester Flatt's Nashville Grass and other crucial acts. He remained active until the end as a frequent performer at Nashville's bluegrass mecca, The Station Inn. His brother, the late Clarence White, pioneered country-rock with the Byrds.

Naomi Judd (Jan. 11, 1946 - April 30, 2022)

News about Naomi Judd's unexpected death at age 76 spread just one day before The Judds, her mother-daughter duo with Wynonna Judd, became enshrined in the Country Music Hall of Fame. A statement from daughters Wynonna and Ashley Judd attributed Naomi's death to "the disease of mental illness."

Advertisement

Johnnie Barber (1951?- May 5, 2022)

Johnnie Barber played drums for a who's-who of country legends, including Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard and Johnny Paycheck. He remained active late in life, regularly sitting behind the kit at Robert's Western World and other Nashville honky-tonks.

Mickey Gilley (March 9, 1936 - May 7, 2022)

Gilley, a country superstar whose mainstream profile rose following the success of the John Travolta film Urban Cowboy, scored 17 No. 1 hits in the 1970s and 1980s.

Per a statement from Gilley's publicist, the singer "had just come off of the road, his favorite place, having played ten shows in April. He passed peacefully with his family and close friends by his side."

Read More: Let's Go Girls: 40 Women Who Shaped '90s Country

Related Videos