Michael Rhodes (1953–2023), bassist on How Do I Live

Michael Rhodes was a bass player known for his work on Nashville hits including “I Hope You Dance” and “How Do I Live.”

Session bassist

A native of Louisiana, Rhodes found his way to Nashville in 1977, already a talented guitarist and bass player. Over the years, he was a member of several local bands, including the Cicadas, the Fortunate Sons, and the Nerve. But what Rhodes became best known for was his work as a session musician, playing on decades of hits by the tops stars of country music. The many dozens of artists he recorded with include Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers (1938–2020), Vince Gill, Elton John, Olivia Newton-John (1948–2022), Billy Ray Cyrus, Darius Rucker, Reba McEntire, and Carrie Underwood. He played bass on the hit versions of “I Hope You Dance” recorded by both LeAnn Rimes and Trisha Yearwood, as well as on other chart-toppers including “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack and “Sunny Came Home” by Shawn Colvin. He was a member of the Musicians Hall of Fame.

Notable quote

“Music is like having a conversation, you have to listen for the most part. The best session players are the ones who are good listeners and can take suggestions. You have to leave your ego out of it. Do what is asked of you and don’t slow the process down, in other words make sure that you’re prepared and all your gear is in good order.” —from a 2018 interview for Music Radar

Tributes to Michael Rhodes


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