The Hardway

by J Raleigh Jones

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Adventures of Perley Curtis, Road Musician



Location: Indian Reservation, Canada

Perley: only white guy

Band: Indian Country music band                                     

Evening meal, Perley's hungry

Indian woman cooking

Perley: Whats in that pot?

Indian Woman: moose head

Perley: What's in that pot?

Indian woman: Fish guts

Perley: Not that hungry


As a road musician Perley has been on  tours with several major stars such as Becky Hobbs, Holly Dunn and Loretta Lynn. He has also been hired as an individual  steel guitar player for bands for that Nashville sound. His profession has taken him on  tours in many foreign countries such as Sweden, Denmark, France, Japan and Czechoslovakia. Perley was on tour with Holly Dunn for a month in Prague Czechoslovakia. Holly and her band were hired by an American business man to promote his new car wash businesses there. It is a challenge to adjust to different cultures beginning with food menus. Perley said he had the bright idea to have an interpreter write a list of the foods  he liked in the Czechoslovakian language and go out to eat on his own.

Perley set out with his food list and found a restaurant. He sat down with his list and waited for someone to take his order. Finally the cook came to take Perley's order and Perley pointed to the food item he wanted to order. The cook was a bit puzzled but took his order and went back to the kitchen. When his food was delivered Perley had two big plates of food with everything on his list on those plates. The cook noticed Perley's surprised look and smiled perhaps realizing what happened. There are countless stories of traveling musicians and adjusting to foreign food menus. These are just two of Perley's experiences.


Perley has toured a lot with Loretta Lynn when she was at the height of her career.  There are many stories from that experience, but he shared this story with me. Loretta Lynn was appearing at the Grand Ole Opry. Musicans would have their instruments set up and ready to play when each guest is announced. Porter Waggoner introduced Loretta Lynn as Perley and the band prepared to play “Coal Miner's Daughter” which had a signature steel guitar intro. As Loretta took the stage, Perley sat down and realized he had no bar for his steel guitar. He forgot it somehow. He looked over to the steel guitar setup next to him and there was no bar there either. Perley then stood up in a panic. There was only seconds before he had to kick off the song. He looked to Tommy White's steel on his other side. The bar was there! Perley picked it up, sat down and at the last second kicked off “Coal Miner's Daughter”. That is really cutting it close!


Now days, Perley has not only continued to play steel but also is an artist in his own right. He has recorded CD's, music videos, and  is now hosting his own Television show “Perley's Place”. He has filmed 2 pilot episodes for RFD TV and will be filming 12 episodes at the Nashville Palace here in Nashville in a few weeks. It takes a little while to produce that many shows but you can keep up with the progress at   In addition to his TV show, you can also listen to his radio show on WSM radio at 11 PM Saturday nights.


Perley's wife Erin works for FBMM Entertainment Business Management here in Nashville and also stars with Perley on Perley's Place TV show. There is so much more to Perley's adventures than what can be covered here. However, Perley has paid his dues as a road musician on his way to establishing himself as an artist. It has taken awhile. That is definitely doing Nashville The Hard Way. 

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