In-demand Nashville bassist Anthony Joyner speaks about working with Tim McGraw, Shania Twain and more
Exclusive video interview with FBPO’s Jon Liebman
July 31, 2017
By David Sands
Nashville bassist Anthony Joyner is a highly sought after session and live musician who holds the impressive distinction of having performed at both the Grand Ole Opry and Carnegie Hall. Known by his nickname “The Smooth Groove,” he’s currently dedicated to making sure things run smoothly for Cody Purvis as his band’s musical director.
Although he plays regularly in a wide variety of genres, Joyner has been especially prominent on the country music scene, where along with fellow bassist Willie Weeks he helped open the door for African Americans and other people of color to play professionally in the genre. Faith Hill, Shania Twain, John Rich and Tim McGraw are just a few of the famous country music names he’s shared his talents with in recent years. As for the rock world, he’s performed with Gary Puckett of the Union Gap, Kim Boyce and the Nelsons. He’s also served as bassist and music director for American Idol contestant Kendra Chantelle, an R&B singer and Meagan Rüger, a contestant on The Voice who performs country, rock and pop.
Joyner, who holds a Master’s Degree in Music Education/Performance from Belmont University, also regularly teaches students at music camps and private sessions in the Nashville area.
FBPO’s Jon Liebman caught up with him at the recent Summer NAMM show in Nashville, Tennessee, where they spoke about how he got his start in music, getting to know bass idols like Chuck Rainey and Marcus Miller and a potentially huge career shift on the horizon.
Watch our interview with Anthony:
Thank you for this interview. I played with Tony at TTU in the Troubadours jazz band and the Symphonic Band. And everything else and in between. He was the first to bring me on stage for jazz bassoon, we did ‘Round Midnight, and I played Tenor Sax with him on a Weather Report chart on his bass recital. My little brother was in the trombone section with him in the Nashville Youth Symphony, too. We lived in the Phi Mu Alpha house together, too. What a friend he was. People said he had a big ego, but I never thought so. He was a constant source of encouragement. If you were his friend, he would do everything in his power to make sure your ego was big. Once when we were driving around we saw a pretty southern belle walking down the sidewalk, and he said, “Oh! She’s cuttin’ the onion!” I finally realized a couple of months ago what that meant! Well now that he’s gone, Tony is cuttin’ the onion. Rest well in peace, my friend and brother.