Rick Wright, widely respected in Nashville and beyond as the longtime guitarist in Country Music Hall of Fame member Connie Smith’s band the Sundowners, was killed in a car accident on Sunday night (7). The two-car crash took place near Wright’s home in White House, Tennessee. He was 57.
Wright played on numerous Grand Ole Opry dates and tours over the past 17 years with Smith, who had 20 top ten Billboard country chart singles including such No. 1s as her debut ‘Once A Day’ and ‘Ain’t Love A Good Thing.’ The guitarist played on the singer’s last album release, 2011’s Long Line Of Heartaches.
“He played from the heart,” Smith, 74, told the Tennessean newspaper. “It’s going to be hard looking to my right [during a performance] and not see him there grinning at me.” Wright grew up in Oklahoma before moving to Nashville, where he also played with the Music City Playboys and with bands in the bars of Lower Broadway.
“He had a heart so big that he’d do anything for you,” added Smith. “If we weren’t working, he was playing somewhere else, because he just loved to play. I think that any musician who played with Rick became his friend.”