Pedal steel guitar playing legend Robby Turner has been hospitalized after a serious automobile accident on Tuesday morning (12-31-19). Known for being the pedal steel player behind The Highwaymen and Waylon Jennings in the latter half of Waylon’s career, as well as playing on the breakout records from Sturgill Simpson (High Top Mountain) and Chris Stapleton (Traveller), Robby Turner has been a beloved side player for many years.
Robby Turner’s truck was totaled in an accident on Briley Parkway in Nashville as he was driving home from a gig at the Music City Bar and Grill in the Music Valley region of Nashville, near the Grand Ole Opry. Turner suffered multiple fractures to his ribs and nasal cavity in the accident, and also had a partial amputation of his right ring finger.
These injuries were on top of preexisting conditions Robby Turner has been suffering from. The 57-year-old had a pulmonary embolism in the beginning of 2018, which was surgically removed, and he suffers from deep vein thrombosis in his bilateral lower extremities. Turner can’t go more than an hour or two without having to prop his legs up due to swelling, and he still has trouble walking, even with a cane.
Robby Turner’s musical gear was also damaged in the accident, including his steel guitar, and the Fender custom shop dual professional amplifier given to him by Waylon Jennings.
Robby Turner was born into country music. His parents, Doyle and Bernice Turner, played in the Hank Williams Drifting Cowboys band from 1946 to 1948. His father was a steel guitar player and his mother played rhythm guitar. By 9-years-old Robby was playing drums and touring with The Wilburn Brothers, and by age eleven, he was working in a local honky tonk in Paragould, Arkansas three nights a week to save up enough money to buy his own steel guitar. At the age of 12, Shot Jackson of the Sho-Bud steel guitar company sponsored the young player by giving him his own rig—the youngest such player to be endorsed by the company.
Along with Waylon Jennings and The Highwaymen, Robby Turner has toured with the Dixie Chicks, and appeared on records from artists such as Willie Nelson, John Prine, Travis Tritt, Tanya Tucker, Mark Chesnutt, Marty Stuart, and dozens more. He also produced the final album from Waylon Jennings, Goin’ Down Rockin’ – The Last Recordings, and was considered one of Waylon’s right hand men later in his life. Robby Turner was also featured in a presentation at the Country Music Hall of Fame on July 27th, 2019 as part of their “Nashville Cats” series, has appeared on Saturday Night Live numerous times, along with other nationally-televised shows. To read more about Robby Turner, click here.
“As many already know, Robby has been having health issues for many years, and has been unable to work on several occasions due to health conditions,” says Robby’s son, Bobby Turner. “This has caused a number of his household bills, as well as medical bills, to pile up.”
A Go Fund Me page has been set up for those wanting to help pitch in for Robby’s medical expenses.