Area Code 615 ( telephone code for Nashville) was a formation of session musicians purely assembled after being inspired by Dylan’s Nashville Skyline. Area Code 615, previously The Escorts was predominantly an instrumental group featuring Mac Gayden (guitar), Bobby Thompson (banjo), Buddy Spicher (fiddle), Norbert Putman (bass), Kenneth Buttrey (drums)& Wayne Moss (guitar).The strength of the group was the diverse arrangement of style, professionally executed with extremely high musicianship.The strength of the group was harmonica player Charlie McCoy who later joined folk guitarist Gordon Lightfoot. A neatly put together single called “Nashville 9 - New York 1” was regularly featured on East Coast radio stations boasting a then unknown guitar maestro called Mac Gayden. Bobby Thompson’s banjo interpretation of Mason Williams’ “Classical Gas” (McCoy on bass)and Lennon & McCartney’s “Hey Jude”, the latter with Buddy Spicher’s reeling fiddle caught the attention of the ‘BBC’ who used their highly charged instrumental “Stone fox Chase” as an opening theme for the ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’.
I’ve heard a lot of steel guitar in my time but nothing like Weldon Myrick’s ambling strings on Lennon & McCartney’s “Lady Madonna” and the idyllic “Alway’s The Same” and “Why Ask Why”. Area Code 615 were clearly not looking for hit singles even though they released two fine albums, the eponymous and Trip in the Country, the latter opening up with an explosive version of Bill Monroe's "Scotland". The band got to play two weekends at the ‘Fillmore West’ with crowds loving the band and local musicians watching in awe. This weekly rock TV show was on air for eight years. Many of the musicians went on to session with George Harrison, Neil Young and Linda Ronstadt. Numerous sessions that received the handiwork of Area Code 615 included Kenny Buttrey who played on the original Everly Brothers records and David Briggs & Norbert Putman who performed on Arthur Alexander’s “You Better Move On”/“Anna”. To add further cream to the cake Mac Gayden wrote “Everlasting Love” and played guitar on it which became a huge hit for Robert Knight and Love Affair. It has been said that Bobby Thompson is considered one of the most innovative banjo pickers to grace this earth. Wayne, Charlie, & Kenny were also the rhythm section on Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde. Kenny played drums on Neil Young’s Harvest, and nearly all of the early Everly Brother’s albums at the tender age of 16.
Amongst all these sessions the most profound is guitarist Wayne Moss who played that famous guitar riff on Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman”and that infectious jangle on Dylan’s “I Want You” later to form Barefoot Jerry in the seventies. You have to here him jingle jangle go on “Russian Red”. These were the boys that backed Elvis, Jerry Jeff Walker, J.J. Cale, & Tony Joe White, little else to be said.