I was born in Temple Texas on April 1, 1942. My parents were Claude and Viola Grisham and we lived in Troy Texas, a town about 7 miles north of Temple. 

I was always very interested in music even at an early age. When I was about 9 or 10 years old, I persuaded my parents to let me take guitar lessons. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was a great experience that I am still using the knowledge from even today. At the time all I wanted to do was to learn a few chords on the guitar so that I could be a star like Carl Smith or Webb Pierce!!! However, what I did learn was how to read music and studied chord theory
which has really been an advantage over the years in making music my career. 

After I completed the guitar lessons at around age 11 or 12, I started playing with some of the local musicians, playing mostly at church dances, charity functions, etc. and got some valuable experience in playing before the public. Around the age of 15, I started playing with more professional musicians in the area and we worked the bigger dance halls and night clubs.

I continued playing music locally all through high school and while I attended Temple Junior College for a year or so after High School. In college, I studied to be a school teacher and it was here that I discovered that I could make more money with less effort and more enjoyment playing music than I would be able to do teaching school. So, that ended my college days!!! 

After leaving college I began playing some show dates with Billy Western and some of the Stars of the Big “D” Jamboree out of Dallas Texas. We toured the Southwest and occasionally went up into Colorado and Wyoming. 

All during this time period mentioned above, I played electric guitar only. I didn’t start playing steel guitar professionally until I was about 21 years old. In fact, during one of our tours with the Big “D” Jamboree Stars, I bought a steel guitar and started messing around with it in the motel rooms because that is the only place the other musicians would allow me to play it!!! After a few weeks or so, they finally let me set it up on stage to play on a song or two.

In a month or so, I had improved on my steel playing to the point that George Kent, one of the Big “D” Jamboree artists, asked me to play in his band and we toured up through Colorado and went to Cheyenne, Wyoming to work a club for about 3 months. We finished up after the week of the celebrated “Cheyenne Days” rodeo. 

After the Cheyenne Wyoming gig, I moved to Dallas Texas and went to work with Eddie McDuff and the Big “D” Jamboree band playing steel. We worked a club during the week nights, did recording sessions, car lot openings, had a TV show and was the staff band for the Big “D” Jamboree show on Saturday nights. This was great experience and I met a lot of great local musicians as well as touring bands from Nashville that worked the Big “D” Jamboree. 

I continued doing this for about a year and a half and then went to work for about a year with Dewey Groom at the Longhorn Ballroom in Dallas. This was a giant dance hall for the times and playing in this band was good experience as we played all types of music. 

After this, I started playing at some dances with Billy Thompson who used to work with Hank Thompson. One night in Wichita Kansas, we worked a big ballroom and the guest artist was Roy Drusky and his band. It just so happened that Roy’s steel player was quitting the same night and they offered me a job.

I had always wanted to move to Nashville, but was afraid to do so without a job waiting for me and here was my opportunity. I accepted his job offer and left the same night with Roy and his band to play a show in Houston Texas. We hit the stage in Houston with no rehearsal and several thousand people waiting to be entertained. However, I was young and eager and it didn’t seem to bother me too much. 


In 1966, I came to Nashville I toured with Roy Drusky and played on the Grand Ole Opry. 

In the fall of 1967, I went into the armed services and was stationed at Brunswick Maine in Naval Air Squadron VP-11. 

During the latter part of 1968 after my discharge from active duty, I went to work with David Houston. We were playing mainly concerts but also some TV Shows as well. 

In 1970, I went to work with Tompall and The Glaser Brothers. We did road dates and played on the Grand Ole Opry. I also worked in their publishing company. It was at this point that I got involved in studio work in Nashville at The Glaser Studio doing demos for their publishing company and recordings for their own MGM Record releases. It wasn't long until I began working for other producers around Nashville on their recording projects. 

During this period 1970-1973, I played on an album for Jimmy Buffett that got me started doing studio work for artists in the pop field as well as in the country field. 

In 1974 when The Glaser Brothers act broke up, I went to work for Jim Glaser playing in his band. I also continued to do studio work when we weren't on the road. 

In 1975, I toured with Lynn Anderson. This was ideal for my schedule as we traveled by air and only worked about 60-80 days a year which left me more time in Nashville to do studio work. Touring with Lynn Anderson and the excellent musicians she always employed was such a pleasure and fit my studio schedule so nicely, so I was able to do both until the early part of 1985. 

During the period of 1975-1985, I did recording sessions with artists such as:

  • Lynn Anderson
  • England Dan and John Ford Coley
  • Dr. Hook
  • Jimmy Buffett
  • Bill Anderson
  • Buzz Cason
  • The Hemphills
  • The Rambos
  • The Lewis Family
  • Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul, & Mary)
  • Freddy Weller
  • Dickey Lee
  • Kenny Rogers and The First Edition
  • Jim Glaser 

In 1982 Lynn Anderson toured less, so I stayed in Nashville and continued to play on recording sessions. I also became chief engineer at Fireside Recording Studio, a well respected recording facility over the years. 

In March of 1985, I became studio manager at Fireside Studio after the previous owners sold the studio to Music Artist Corporation, a Florida based company. I worked in this position for the next three years as well as continuing to work on recording sessions for various artists.

Since 1985, I have been proud to play on record releases by artists such as: 

  • Jimmy Buffett 
  • George Jones 
  • Johnny Duncan 
  • Reba McIntire
  • Dan Seals
  • Randy Travis
  • Jim & Jesse
  • Mel Tillis
  • Frankie Lane 
  • Roy Drusky
  • Kitty Wells
  • Del Reeves 
  • Tiny Tim 
  • Mac Wiseman
  • Leona Williams
  • Baillie & The Boys

In 1986, I was honored to have been chosen as one of the five finalists for Instrumentalist Of The Year during the Country Music Association awards for that year. Although I did not have any instrumental albums of my own on the market, the category was open to musicians that had played on the top Country albums during the past year or so. 

I then started getting interested in doing some projects in the production area. I enjoyed this very much as it gave me the opportunity to take original material and adjust it to match an individual artist's style. 

One of the most interesting projects I have had the pleasure to play on in recent years, was the recording sessions for the duet album Randy Travis recorded with several of the top artists in the music world. 

Some of the artists appearing on the album with Randy Travis were: 

  • Roy Rogers 
  • Tammy Wynette 
  • Chet Atkins 
  • Dolly Parton 
  • Vern Gosdin 
  • Kris Kristofferson 
  • B. B. King 
  • Willie Nelson 
  • George Jones 
  •  Loretta Lynn 
  • Conway Twitty 
  • Clint Eastwood

Another highlight in my musical career around 1988, was in working for the late Pete Drake, a world respected studio steel guitar player and record producer. While working with Pete, I did some work as a musician, but mainly worked as his studio engineer. During this period, I enjoyed doing the mixes for one of Ernest Tubb's duet albums that included several well-known traditional country artists singing with Ernest. 

I continued to divide my time between being a studio musician and engineer, some record production, a little traveling and played in the bands of Lynn Anderson, Jim Glaser and sometimes Johnny Duncan. 

Starting in May of 1999, I began touring with the Jimmy Buffett Show. I had recorded several albums with Jimmy Buffett over the last 25 years and in February of 1999, Jimmy called me back to do another album with him, that being “Beach House On The Moon.”

About a month or so after we completed the recording of the album, Jimmy called and asked if I would be interested in doing some shows with him and his band, The Coral Reefers and I gladly accepted his offer. It has been a lot of fun and a great experience! 

Toward the end of 2001, I started doing some show dates of my own along with our band, “The Bandits.” We planned on playing several shows a year mostly for corporations, seminars, etc. 

I was also honored to be asked to play at events for several of the Parrot Head Organizations across the country. The Parrot Head Organizations support the Jimmy Buffett style of music and hold their events to raise money for many worthwhile Charities. 

In May of 2002, I was honored to be inducted into the Texas Steel Guitar Hall Of Fame. 

In 2016, I was proudly asked to join The Grinders Switch Ensemble. I played on the Grinders Switch Hour every Saturday morning at 10am with them when I wasn't on tour with Jimmy Buffett and The Coral Reefer Band. 

For the past 33 years, I have been touring with Jimmy Buffett and The Coral Reefer Band, playing on recording sessions in Nashville and at my home studio, playing at events that were organized by the Parrot Head Organizations and on the Grinders Switch Hour on Saturday mornings.