Jimmy Capps attends the 2014 Musicians Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Nashville Municipal Auditorium on January 28, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Ed Rode/WireImage)

About Jimmy Capps
Age81 Years
BirthMay 25, 1939 Fayetteville, North Carolina
DeathJune 2, 2020 Tennessee
SpouseMichele Voan Capps July 2007 - June 2020,
Anne Bridges Capps 1958 - 2005 (Death)
ChildrenMark Capps
SiblingsThomas Harold Capps, Fred Carlton Capps
ParentsTommie Capps, Alice Capps
HometownBenson, North Carolina
AutobiographyThe Man in Black

Jimmy Capps passed away in 2020 at the age of 81. The legendary guitarist has performed with almost every 20th century country music artist and has strummed on some of the most famous songs of the genre. The Sheriff’s biggest legacy is his six decades at the Grand Ole Opry in Tennessee, where he performed up to the time of his death. We pay tribute to this icon in our Jimmy Capps wiki.

Jimmy Capps Began Playing the Guitar When He Was 12

Jimmy Capps was born on May 25, 1939 in Fayetteville, North Carolina, but he was raised in the neighboring city of Benson. He is the youngest of three sons born to Alice Capps and Tommie Capps.

One of Jimmy’s brothers, Fred Capps (born in 1924), passed away four years before Jimmy was born. His eldest brother, Thomas Capps, passed away in 1991.

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A 12-year-old Jimmy Capps took to the guitar when his parents bought him a Stella guitar. He used to listen to the Grand Ole Opry’s weekly radio shows with his father and was drawn to the instrument.

“There was a certain magic about the guitar that drew me to it,” Capps said. “I knew I had to figure out a way to learn how to play.”

When he was a teen, Capps got his professional start playing the guitar at a local radio station. He wasn’t paid for it, but it didn’t bother him when it led to more gigs in radio and TV shows in the Carolinas.

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Capps Was a Member of the Grand Ole Opry

Jimmy Capps moved to Nashville after auditioning for The Louvin Brothers band in 1958. Ira and Charlie Louvin were so impressed by his talent that they had the 19-year-old join their band. In the first year playing for them, Capps earned a grand total of $1,500.

“Thanks to Charlie…I guess I owe my whole career to him,” Capps wrote in his 2018 autobiography The Man in Back. “That one split-second decision that he made is the reason I am here. That decision made all the difference in my life.”

It was performing with the Louvins that brought him to the Grand Ole Opry stage for the first time, playing the guitar for their song, “Knoxville Girl.”

Capps’ smooth style with both the acoustic and electric guitar made him a sought-after studio player among country musicians. The Sheriff, as he was dubbed, has featured in several popular songs by famous musicians.

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Recordings he was featured in include Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man,” Barbara Mandrell’s “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool,” Conway Twitty’s “Lost In The Feeling,” Reba McEntire’s “How Blue,”  Alan Jackson’s “Here In The Real World,” George Strait’s “Unwound” and “Amarillo by Morning,” Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler,” George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” and the Oak Ridge Boys’ “Elvira.”

Capps transitioned from playing for other artists to the other side of the studio, working as a producer. His producing credits include albums by Jan Howard and the Wilburn Brothers.

Capps was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2014 in Nashville. In 2018, he was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame. He’s earned other civilian honors in Tennessee and North Carolina, too.

It’s said that Jimmy Capps has performed with almost every country musician of the 20th century. But his biggest personal achievement probably is performing with the long-running legendary radio show he had been a fan of since he was a child.

After his first performance at the Opry with The Louvins Brothers, Jimmy Capps became a member of the iconic stage’s group of sessions musicians in 1959. Since joining the house band in 1967, he has played lead guitar for the radio show’s guest performers every week, until his death early this week.

The Opry immortalized The Sheriff’s presence in their legacy by naming a venue rehearsal space the “Jimmy Capps Music Room” in December 2018.

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Capps Leaves Behind His Second Wife, Michele

In his autobiography, Capps described his marriage to his first wife, Anne Bridges Capps. They married when he was a band member of The Louvins Brothers. He was 19 and she was 20.

They raised three sons and were together until her death in 2005. Capps credits her for raising their children while he was mostly away performing at the Opry or in the studio.

Two years after Anne’s passing, Jimmy married Michele Voan (now Capps). The couple celebrated their 12th wedding anniversary in July 2019.

Happy 12th Anniversary to the sweetest man in the world, My Jimmy! I love you so very much! What a wonderful, crazy life we have! We are SO BLESSED! ❤️🤵🏼👰🏻🎸🎤❤️

Posted by Michele Voan Capps on Monday, July 15, 2019

It appears that Michele managed Jimmy’s social profiles in recent years. She was also a constant presence at events honoring him.

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Capps’ Son Is a Music Producer

One of Jimmy and Anne’s sons, Mark Capps, is now a producer based in Nashville. His passion for music of course stems from growing up in the studio and watching his dad play.

Mark is also a guitarist, but he found his true calling in the studio producing music for other artists. His almost-four-decade-long career includes interning at Sony and producing platinum-selling and Grammy-winning albums.

Jimmy Capps passed away shortly after his 81st birthday. He is survived by his wife, Michele, and his three sons.

Good memory! Jimmy and his son, Mark Capps, at NC Music Hall of Fame induction. 😊❤️

Posted by Jimmy Capps on Saturday, October 21, 2017

Mark responded to all the condolences to his family upon his father’s death. He said that Jimmy Capps died of “complications from an unexpected health issue”.

I can’t thank my friends for your texts, calls and comments. I love you all. I will try to respond in the next week to…

Posted by Mark Capps on Tuesday, June 2, 2020

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