The Steel Guitar Forum
Although the name Rick Vanaugh may not sound familiar to you right away, country fans have been listening to his music for years. As a talented drummer in the country scene, Vanaugh recorded music with big names such as Kitty Wells and Lorrie Morgan.
Perhaps most notably, Vanaugh was a member of The Time Jumpers, a Western Swing ensemble of which country star Vince Gill is also a member. Vanaugh joined the Time Jumpers in 1998, after former drummer Kenny Malone left the group.
Sadly, after years of providing the country music community with incredible music, Rolling Stone reports that Vanaugh passed away on Tuesday (May 31) in Nashville at the age of 61.
Not long ago, Vanaugh revealed he had been diagnosed with terminal liver disease, and was given only a few months to live. A benefit was held for him at the Nashville Palace near the Grand Ole Opry on May 22, which was attended by 400 people.
Vanaugh was born in Youngstown, Ohio, and got his start in country music playing for various artists, including Dottie West and Mel Tillis. He cemented his place as one of the most talented drummers in Nashville when he started playing for Lorrie Morgan in 1989. In 1991, Vanaugh was featured on Morgan’s highly successful LP, Something in Red.
In the years since then, Vanaugh appeared on Gill’s 2011 album Guitar Slinger and was also featured on tribute albums to Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn. You can listen to him play along with Gill and his other Time Jumpers bandmates in the clip below.
Although he may be gone, Vanaugh’s music will live on through the recordings he completed along with his friends in country music. Our prayers go out to his family and the entire country community as they mourn the loss of a true talent.
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