Born 1942, Beckley, Raleigh County
Pedal steel and dobro player Russ Hicks has established himself as one of the best studio musicians in Nashville. In the 1970s and 1980s, Hicks was one of the “A Team” musicians who played on hundreds of albums. Growing up in WV, Hicks learned guitar and his high school rock band was signed to Decca Records and relocated to Las Vegas. After a year, Hicks rejoined his parents in South Carolina, graduated high school and moved to Chicago where he played clubs for three years.
Back in West Virginia in the early 1960s, he got married, taught music and played locally. Inspired by pedal steel great Buddy Emmons, Hicks took up the instrument. In 1965, he found a gig on the Slim Mims TV Show in Florence, SC, playing lead and steel guitar. When Hicks learned that steel guitarist Weldon Myrick was leaving country star Connie Smith’s band, he went to Nashville to audition. He was hired in 1967. After touring with Smith, Hicks landed a gig with Ray Price (when Price’s band featured five fiddlers).
When Hicks returned to Nashville to concentrate on session work, he met fellow West Virginian and studio veteran Charlie McCoy. Hicks found himself working with some session musician legends such as Grady Martin, Hargus Pig Robbins, Pete Wade, Buddy Harmon, Bob Moore, Roy Huskey, Jr. and Harold Bradley. He played on records by Marty Robbins, Ronnie Milsap, Mickey Gilley, Larry Gatlin, Jerry Lee Lewis, Tom T. Hall, Don Gibson, Wanda Jackson, Townes Van Zandt, the Charlie Daniels Band and many more. He also was featured on various movie soundtracks including Clint Eastwood’s Every Which Way But Loose.
For 13 years, Hicks was a member of the house band (led by Charlie McCoy) on the TV show Hee Haw. In the 1970s, Hicks joined the Nashville based band Barefoot Jerry, led by fellow West Virginian (and “A list” studio picker) Wayne Moss. Hicks’s performances now include a yearly appearance at the world famous Scotty’s International Steel Guitar Convention in St. Louis. Hicks hosts various workshops around the country, teaches out of his home near Nashville, and produces various instructional products.