The purpose of this Hal Rugg Foundation is to honor the caring person my father was by helping visually impaired children, such as my grandson, Matthew Aaron Maynes (pronounced minus) discover the benefits of music. In people with sight music helps create wellness, both mentally and physically, and provides clinically proven educational benefits. For the visually impaired it provides these advantages plus a window into a powerful world of expression so needed for them that I can find no words to express.
My prediction is that God will bless this mission and we will benefit even more than they will by serving this need for them.
Our simple goal is to empower and enrich as many of these children as we can by giving them musical instruments and circumstances to learn how to use them in.
who was my father?
Really the most incredible thing about him was how down to earth he was. Other then the late night jam sessions we lived an amazingly normal life. The way he interacted with folks at home, in the community, and at church would have given no one a clue as to his resume.
I will mention some career accomplishments but before I do let me tell a short story which will help prove the point that Dad did so much that he couldn’t come close to recalling all the hits he had helped create with the rest of his buddies on the “A ” team. For your reference that is what folks in the “hot seat” that called to do the master sessions in Nashville were given as a nick name… players on the “a” team. The players Dad worked with made an unbelievable amount of hit records as a team. Some of the players with him on these records with were guys like Hargus “Pig” Robbins (who incidentally was blind) on the piano, Rob Hajacus on the fiddle, Brent Mason on the electric guitar, Charlie McCoy on the harmonica, to name a few.
On June 5, 2003 CMT aired a show called the 100 Greatest Country Music Songs. Brad Paisley was up and coming and was chosen to be one of the hosts of the show, I think Steve Wariner was the producer. Regardless of the exact facts the talk around the dinner table was about the taping of the top ten on the list. Rightfully Dad was invited to play in the band to re-enact these songs for the program. As the band went through the rehearsals Steve would look over at Hal ask time and again such as on “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and ask, “Hey Hal weren’t you on that one too? Of course the Loretta Lynn song was not in question but on several of the others he would muse, “well, maybe so, it seems to be coming back real easy!” To that a band member would remind him, “yea Hal, you remember, we did that one together in such and such.” to which my Dad would go, “oh, yea! that was at Bradley’s barn or studio B!” or some such banter.
The point being, not that his memory was failing, but he was so humble and just glad to be picking that he never could remember all the music he helped record! That was my Dad, the real person… the just born to pick, where do I plug in guy, that never tried to sell himself but was so good he never had to worry about work.
He was a member of the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame. He played for 16 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry staff band. He played on records by George Jones, The Osborne Brothers (including “Rocky Top”), of course Loretta Lynn whose sound he helped crystallize, Joan Baez, Porter Wagoner, Steve Wariner, Billy Walker, Ronnie Millsap, Jerry Reed, Moe Bandy, The Wilburn brothers, Eddie Rabbit, Ricky Skaggs, and many, many more.
He created demo licks, when not doing the master sessions, that the other steel guitarists who were called into the session would call him up and ask him how to perform. He graciously helped anyone in the steel guitar fraternity who got lost or needed help figuring something out that he had created that was over their head. He created sounds in demo sessions he helped them achieve as well.
He helped build guitars as a hobby. He built a jazz guitar before passing away that only Buddy Emmons would have been able to play so the neck had to be converted back to a normal after he passed so someone would be able to get any use out of the guitar.
In the 80’s he refused to pursue record deal with Time Warner when Bella Fleck was on the label to record the jazz “of his choosing” primarily for two reasons: one he didn’t like being referred to as a Legend, he thought that term was for “dead guys”, and he didn’t want to be alienated by his fraternal friends in the world of steel guitar pickers.
His Hall of Fame plaque makes mention of the body of TV work and awards shows he was chosen to play on by referring to him as steel guitars “Media Man”. He was a constant with electric guitarist friend Jimmy Capps, in the Bill Walker band, in a band famous for many TV productions. Some of his most notable TV appearances were The Statler Brothers, The Wilburn Brothers and the Jimmy Dean Show.
just a few of the things he accomplished
The true testament to my Father’s greatness can’t be contained in this writing. It has made itself evident in the countless stories which have been shared with me by his colleagues, fans, and friends that I've run into on the street or have sent me mail over the years.
Time after time I am told stories about how he treated people with care and concern regardless of the circumstance.
I will close by saying this: When Mathew, the other inspiration for this foundation, is old enough. I will be sure he knows how good of a person Hal was, both in and out of the spotlight, and not just for what he accomplished. I will also be sure to tell him how much he would be proud of his great grandfather.
- Tammy Rugg-Klinefelter, Founder