Longtime Nashville Percussionist Tom Roady Dies



Tom Roady
  • Tom Roady
As reported by The Tennessean's Peter Cooper, longtime Nashville percussionist Tom Roady, who played and/or recorded with everyone from Emmylou Harris and Art Garfunkel to Wilson Pickett and James Brown, died Sunday. He had been diagnosed with cancer last month, and died on a tour bus while on the road with Ricky Skaggs' Family Christmas Tour.

I had a chance to play with Tom once or twice, so long ago that I don't even remember what band we were playing with. But I definitely remember Tom — all he brought to the gig was this funky little electronic percussion pad, and you would have thought we had Tito Puente's entire rhythm section with us. He was exceptionally talented, warm and funny — and most memorably, as enthusiastic about music as anyone I'd met. He was hugely respected as a person and musician, and he will be missed. He left us much too young, but perhaps there's some solace in the fact that he died on tour, doing what he loved.

An excerpt from Cooper's piece:

Mr. Roady, who grew up in the St. Louis area, lived in Nashville for 28 years, and he was an integral part of hit singles including Brooks & Dunn’s “My Maria,” Kenny Chesney’s “When The Sun Goes Down” and Vince Gill’s “What The Cowgirls Do.” He toured with Skaggs, James Taylor, John Denver, Paul Anka and others, and he owned Big Bang Theory Studio in Kingston Springs.

Mr. Roady’s final days were filled with music. Saturday night, he played Puckett’s in Leiper’s Fork with friends Waldo LaTowsky, Gary Talley, Chopper Anderson, Dave Hoffner and Renee Armand.

“He was one of those rare people that everybody liked,” said LaTowsky. “Tom had a great smile and a great vibe."

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