Steep Canyon Rangers remember Don Light

We heard this morning from Woody Platt with Steep Canyon Rangers. They were one of the bands that benefited from the management expertise of Don Light, who passed away yesterday. The band asked that we share this remembrance.

Steep Canyon Rangers with Don Light and Carl JacksonWe were approached backstage at Graves Mountain Bluegrass Festival in June of 2004 by a slender, well dressed, gray-haired man named Don Light. He watched us warming up for our upcoming set and mentioned to us that he would be interested in talking to us about becoming our manager. We had not even played our show, but he said he heard a sound that he liked and thought he could help us.

A few weeks later we were in Nashville and had a meeting with Don Light in his music row office (formerly Chet Atkins office), and a relationship between Don Light (he only liked to be referred by his first and last name, which he would make very clear early on) and Steep Canyon Rangers was formed. Over the next 7.5 years we were proud to have Don Light Talent, with Julie Pennell, represent our group.

The more we grew to know Don Light, the more we understood why his reputation in Nashville was impeccable. We loved his connection to old Nashville, and his belief in our band was instrumental to us. The 2006 IBMA Emerging Artist award and our relationship with the Grand Ole Opry were two accomplishments among the many we achieved through Don Light.

Being bluegrassers, we could sit in his office and hear stories about Lester Flatt and Keith Whitley all day! Don Light was full of great advice, one liners, striking smiles, but he was also a careful and thoughtful listener.

His interest in bluegrass later in his career was a blessing for us and other groups who were fortunate to benefit from his experience and wisdom. We’re grateful to have known and worked with Don Light, and will try to someday justify his belief that we ‘could be important.’

He was that and more to us.