HomeEntertainmentMusicCountry MusicKenny Chesney Pays Touching Tribute After the Loss of Friend and Nashville Musician

Kenny Chesney Pays Touching Tribute After the Loss of Friend and Nashville Musician

by Taylor Cunningham
Kenny Chesney
(Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CMT)

Kenny Chesney is one of the dozens of musicians mourning bassist Michael Rhodes, who passed late last week.

Chesney collaborated with the award-winning musician on many of his most memorable hits. Rhodes even played on Chesney’s break-out album, In My Wildest Dreams, which dropped in 1994.

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On Monday, March 6, the country star took a moment to recognize the music industry’s great loss in an Instagram post that paid tribute to Rhodes’ talent and soul.

“Michael Rhodes played on my first album ever. And then several after that. I am so thankful Michael and I made music together and then gave it to the world to hear,” he wrote alongside a photo of the bassist. “I have so much gratitude for that. He taught me a lot about making records and was such a big part in creating my sound.” 

“He was simply one of the best bass players/human beings I have ever worked with,” he continued, “and he will be missed. If you are listening to one of your favorite songs on the radio tonight… Odds are Michael played on it.  Rest in peace and thank you, my friend.”

Michael Rhodes passed away in his Nashville, Tennessee home early on Saturday, March 4, according to his rep, per Billboard. A cause of death has not been released. He was 69.

Kenny Chesney’s Frequent Bassist was a Ten-Time Academy of Country Music Award Winner and Musicians Hall of Famer

Rhodes was a self-taught artist who began his professional career playing the guitar before switching to the bass. For over four decades, Rhodes worked with some of the biggest names in all genres of music. He recorded and played on stage with artists such as Vince Gill, Elton John, George Strait, Etta James, and Stevie Nicks.

During his career, Rhodes amassed 10 Academy of Country Music awards for Bass Player of the year, and he was featured on Lee Ann Womack’s 2000 Grammy-winning single Hope You Dance. Because of his impact on the industry, he earned a spot in the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2019.

Michael Rhodes is survived by his wife, Lindsay Fairbanks Rhodes, son, Jason Rhodes, daughter Melody Wind Rhodes, and six grandchildren.

His family will announce memorial arrangements at a later date. In lieu of flowers, they ask that people make donations in Rhodes’ name to the Music Health Alliance, a nonprofit that assists musicians with healthcare and other support.