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This Colonial Beach man played at the Grand Ole Opry with names like Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline

Posted at 1:32 PM, Nov 04, 2022

COLONIAL BEACH, Va. — On the Northern Neck, autumn brings change. Summer tourists flee and calm is restored in Colonial Beach. But two things remain constant in this beach town: The rhythm of the waves and the sweet melodies of Bob Taylor.

A musician whose musical journey began in Lynchburg, Virginia where he started playing as a child.

“It just got in my blood I guess,” said Taylor.

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His budding talent earned him pocket change from impressed family members.

“That was my first paid gig! A quarter!” Taylor recalled.

Sticking with music would pay off. He played drums once for the legendary Patsy Cline.

“It so happened that she came in one night to the club, and they naturally got her up to sing,” he said.

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Taylor would own the Hunter’s Lodge dance hall in Manassas, where his band the String Dusters would perform during the late 50s and early 60s.

He even hired an up-and-coming singer to perform.

“Willie Nelson. Brother Willie Nelson,” Taylor said. “It was approximately $250. Isn’t that wild?”

In the mid-60s, the Korean War veteran was invited to Nashville where he would play drums at the Grand Ole Opry in Ryman Auditorium for seven years.

“There was an element of excitement I would have to say,” said Taylor.

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He did not strike it rich.

“If I performed three spots on the 'pry that night, then I could get $60."

But the then-married father was wealthy in experience.

“I stayed in Nashville 38 years,” Taylor said.

He would rub shoulders and perform with country music legends.

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He would even play alongside the man in black Johnny Cash.

“He had his own style no one else had,” described Taylor. “Oh yes. No doubt about it. All he had to do was stand on the stage and the first thing the crowd goes wild you know.”

The roaring crowds are but an echo — but the performer, who turns 90 in November, still plays around town.

Bob Taylor is a local legend whose sound is a constant in Colonial Beach.

“If you love the business, you shouldn’t necessarily give up. Go to it as long as you can,” said Taylor. “I’m still getting gigs!”

He is a musician with a zest for playing and a guitar case full of stories.

“Great Memories. Great memories. I’ll have to say that. Yes.”

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