Folks I am catching up on articles as rapidly and other ventures equally rapidly and I just could not get this one out fast enough. Monday March 9th the world of Country Music lost a former Buckaroo who played steel guitar for Buck Owens from 1972-1975.
Originally in the beginning Tom Brumley played the steel guitar for Buck Owens and his solo on “Together Again” is regarded as the finest steel guitar solo in history. His style was called “The Brumley Touch” by enthusiasts. In 1969 Brumley left the Buckaroos and was replaced by Jay Dee Maness who played and recorded with Buck until April of 1972 when Jerry Brightman was introduced to the world by Buck.
The band had been without pedal steel since late in 1969 when Maness departed, and Owens returned to his roots sound of fiddle, steel, and electric guitars releasing a string of singles including “Arms Full of Empty”, “Ain’t it Amazing Gracie” and “Ain’t Gonna Have Ole Buck (to Kick Around no More)”.
Jerry continued his tenure with the Buckaroos until 1975 when he left playing music for the actual business side of the music business. Along with The Buckaroos he recorded “Aint It Amazing Gracie” “In The Palm Of Your Hand” and one of MY favorite albums “Arms Full Of Empty” all for Capitol Records.
Of course in 1974 the greatest and most tragic fate befell the mighty Buckaroos when the most popular sideman in Country Music history Don Rich lost control of a motorcycle and was killed. Buck Owens never emotionally recovered from it and the band lost success as well. However Jerry continued to record “It’s A Monster’s Holiday” and (41st) “Lonely Heart’s Club” before leaving the band.
He played on “Made In Japan” which was a number one hit for Buck Owens. And honestly in my opinion Ken Nelson who was the producer on all these album was a MASTERMIND producer. He charted 8 top 10 singles on steel with the Buckaroos and 10 top 50’s.
Jerry Brightman also became Legendary promoter and festival organizer in 1975 when he helped create one of Country Music’s first four day marathon outdoor festivals in Morristown Ohio called Jamboree In The Hills. Jambo or JITH as we call it was and still is regarded as the “Super Bowl Of Country Music” as today it combines traditional Country Music with Pop Country.
He served as the general manager of The Saturday Night Jamboree radio program on WWVA from 1977-1982 and was nominated for a position on the CMA Board of Directors.
He passed away in his sleep in his home Monday night.