Charley Simmons

charley-simmons-mainFrom early days of plinkin’ on a forty-dollar Sears & Roebuck guitar, to his present status as a performing and recording artist, Charley Simmons has made a lifetime of entertaining people with his music. Born in 1950 and raised on a farm near Blackiston Crossroads, Delaware, Charley began playing the guitar at age nine. “Pretty much the way it went was, my Dad would whistle an old Jimmie Rogers or Hank Williams tune and I’d hunt down the notes on the fret board. Kind of a primitive Suzuki method, but I guess it helped me develop a pretty good ear. Winters were long and cold there, and living out in the country left you lots of practice time”. By the age of sixteen, Charley was earning money traveling and performing throughout the state with a band, but it wasn’t until his move to St. Augustine, Florida in 1971, and his exposure to the late Gamble Rogers, that he began to develop his own finger picking solo style. “I used to watch Gamble perform at the Tradewinds and wondered how he made that guitar sound like there were two players on stage. So I threw away my flat pick and started to teach myself, with a lot of pointers from Gamble, how to play that style. I think it only took me two years before I’d perform past the bedroom door.” Since that time, in spite of a long hiatus raising a family, his playing has taken him much further. Charley was the 1992 Utah State Flattop Guitar Champion, the 2002 Wyoming State Fingerstyle Champion, the winner of the 2003 Gamble Rogers Fingerstyle Guitar Competition and a winner in the 2005 KRCL Singer/Songwriter Competition. Charley’s music is as diverse as his musical influences have been, drawing on folk, blues, bluegrass and jazz. “I might play a song about a depressed coal mine economy—I spent seven years as an underground miner so I know a little about this—and then follow it up with the Sheik of Araby. I don’t know if this is normal behavior, but it seems to work.” Normal or not, Charley continues to captivate audiences with his articulate guitar playing and a voice, which was once described as a combination of “dry, shag-cut tobacco and honey.



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St. Augustine, FL



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“…red hot fingerpickin extraordinaire”

-Intermountain Acoustic Musician