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dave roe

We are forever saddened by the sudden death of our dear friend, professional bassist/vocalist/songwriter David Roe Rorick. He died unexpectedly of cardiac arrest at his home in Goodlettsville, TN, on September 15, 2023. Our beloved bass man is sorely missed by his numerous friends in Nashville, and beyond. We honor Dave by sharing his illustrious story:

Best known as Dave Roe,  he grew up in Hawaii and started playing bass in funk and R&B bands in the late ’60s and ’70s. After moving to Nashville in the early ’80s, Dave joined Jerry Reed’s band.  Over the next several years Dave toured the country with several artists including Mel Tillis, Vern Gosdin, Charlie Louvin, Dottie West, Chet Atkins, and Vince Gill.

In the early ‘90’s,  Johnny Cash hired Dave to play in his band the Tennessee Three.  Dave has said ‘that started my love affair with the upright bass, and slap bass in particular, that lingers till this day.’  Dave toured the world with Cash for close to ten years. He also played on June Carter Cash’s Grammy-winning album “Press On” as well as performing with their son John Carter during this time. In the late 90’s, Dave played  with Cash on some of the American Recordings sessions produced by Rick Rubin at his studio.

After Cash passed away,  Dave toured  and recorded for five years with Dwight Yoakam. He got off the road after that, since his recording session work had picked up substantially. Coinciding with this, he was a member of the Don Kelley Band for 13 years, considered one of America’s best honky-tonk bands. The band performed in downtown Nashville at Robert’ s regularly, and Dave became well-known among the local musicians and fans.

With over 500 album credits, including numerous platinum, gold and Grammy-winning records, over the years Dave worked with such diverse artists as: John Mellencamp, Sturgill Simpson, Chrissie Hynde, Taj Majal, Loretta Lynn,  Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Ian Hunter, Brian Setzer, Dan Auerbach, CeeLo Green, Kurt Vile, Yola, John Anderson, Carrie Underwood, Marcus King, Malcolm Holcombe, Brandy Clark, Joe Ely, Gretchen Peters, Ray LaMontagne, Jake Bugg, Richard Lloyd, Don Schlitz, Faith Hill, Duane Eddy, Kathy Mattea, Rodney Crowell and others.

In the early 2020’s Dave continued to stay busy, even during the pandemic: he was invited to California to record with Taj Majal; and recorded all his bass parts remotely for rockabilly king Brian Setzer’s 2020 release. He also had his own band, the SloBeats, formed with guitar great from Marty Stuart’s band Kenny Vaughan, and drummer Pete Abbott from the Average White Band.  He booked sessions in his own studio, Seven Deadly Sins, and was a life member of AFM Local 257 in Nashville, TN.  Dave was  known to be proud of his only child, son Jerry Roe, who is a professional drummer in Nashville. 

A celebration of his life was held Sept. 24, 2023, at the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville,  generously provided by the museum founder and dear friend.  It was fitting that social media was flooded with shock and sadness, along with many warm tributes and memories. 

Dave Roe performing with Cash