Nashville songwriter Paul Craft, who had a brief career in bluegrass, died this morning after being ill the past few weeks. Craft had been hospitalized just hours after being inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame on October 5. He was 76 years old.
As a younger man, Paul pursued a career as a banjo player, working as a member of Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys while in college. He was a contemporary of John Starling, attending school with him at the University of Virginia. Several of his songs were recorded by The Seldom Scene, including Born By The Railroad Line and Keep Me From Blowin’ Away.
The Osborne Brothers also cut several Paul Craft songs. Both Midnight Flyer and Fastest Grass Alive were staples of their live show until Sonny retired in 2005. Alison Krauss included his Teardrops Will Kiss The Morning Dew on her breakout 1995 album, Now That I’ve Found You: A Collection.
Though he wrote a wide variety of songs, he may be known best to the larger music market for whimsical songs like Drop Kick Me Jesus, a hit for Bobby Bare, and It’s Me, Margaret, a showcase number for Ray Stevens.
Paul never lost his love for bluegrass music, and was a frequent visitor at shows and festivals until his health failed.
R.I.P., Paul Craft.