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Bucky Baxter (1955–2020), steel guitarist for Bob Dylan, Steve Earle

by Linnea Crowther

Bucky Baxter was a pedal steel guitarist who toured with Bob Dylan and was a founding member of Steve Earle’s backing band, the Dukes.

Backing musical legends

Baxter first made his mark as he played pedal steel guitar for Steve Earle beginning on the country singer-songwriter’s 1986 debut album, “Guitar Town.” He remained with Earle for notable albums including “Copperhead Road” (1988) before meeting Bob Dylan while on tour with Earle. Dylan asked Baxter for steel guitar lessons, and Baxter ended up joining Dylan’s backing band in the 1990s as they toured and recorded albums including the Grammy-winning “Time Out of Mind” (1997). Baxter also backed musicians including Ryan Adams, R.E.M., Kacey Musgraves, and Old Crow Medicine Show.

Baxter on playing Dylan’s classic songs

“Bob’s a great songwriter. I never really remember any songs that I didn’t like. Sure, I got sick of playing ‘All Along the Watchtower.’ But on the other hand, there are songs like ‘Tangled Up in Blue’ that we played seven nights a week and I never got sick of it.” —from an interview with On the Tracks

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What people said about him

Full obituary: Rolling Stone

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