Bucky Baxter, a pedal-steel guitarist who played extensively with Bob Dylan in the ’90s, has died. He was 65.
The musician’s career stretched back more than three decades and included session work and tours with country, alt-country and rock acts.
His death was confirmed by his son, singer-songwriter Rayland Baxter, who wrote on Instagram that his father “is my everything and now he is an angel. My heart is broken yet I am blinded by joy.” No cause of death was given.
Baxter was born in New Jersey and started playing pedal steel guitar in the ’70s. In 1986, he appeared on Steve Earle‘s debut album, Guitar Town, and continued to play with him on a series of albums into the next decade. He was a founding member of Earle’s longtime backing band the Dukes.
Around that time, Baxter met Dylan on tour, where Earle’s band was opening for the music legend. Dylan asked Baxter to teach him how to play pedal steel, and soon after invited Baxter to join his band.
Baxter remained a part of Dylan’s group throughout the ’90s, logging more than 700 dates on the Never Ending Tour and appearing on 1995’s MTV Unplugged album as well as the 1997 Grammy-winning Time Out of Mind.
In 1999, Baxter released a solo album called Most Likely, No Problem. Within the next couple of years he began a working relationship with Ryan Adams, performing on his albums Gold and Demolition and touring with the alt-country singer-songwriter.
Over the years, Baxter contributed a number of instruments – including steel guitar, acoustic and electric guitar, dobro, mandolin and organ – to records by Ben Folds, Kacey Musgraves and R.E.M. He also played on most of his son’s records.
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