Nokie Edwards (born Nole Edwards 9 May 1935, in Lahoma, Oklahoma), became a guitarist at a very early age. By his teens, he was playing
in Country-Western bands, including the Buck Owens band, and relocated to the Pacific Northwest, where he met Don Wilson and Bob Bogle, founders
of The Ventures.
Edwards was hired by The Ventures, functioning as bassist and occasional lead guitarist on their earliest recordings. In 1962, following an
8-month absence from The Ventures, he returned, this time as the band's official Lead Guitarist. At about this time, The Ventures replaced
their original drummer, Howie Johnson, with Mel Taylor, and the classic Ventures line-up of Bogle, Wilson, Taylor and Edwards released best-
selling albums through 1968, when Edwards left the band for the second time, to pursue a business in thoroughbred race horses. (He was
replaced by Gerry McGee, an accomplished guitarist, who remained with The Ventures until 1972.)
In 1969, Edwards pursued a solo recording career with albums released from 1969 through 1972. The endeavor produced disappointing results,
and he returned again to The Ventures in 1973, remaining with the band until 1984, when he left for the third time, (again, replaced by
Gerry McGee) to pursue a recording career in Nashville. Nothing notable resulted.
In the late 1980's Edwards approached Wilson and Bogle about re-joining The Ventures, and with astonishing good grace, they welcomed him
back a third time, sidelining McGee once more. This time, they did so with the understanding that if Edwards left The Ventures again, they
would consider his departure permanent.
Just a few years later, Edwards, lured again in the direction of Nashville, announced his intention to leave The Ventures, for the fourth
time. Bogle and Wilson asked him if he believed this was his best move. Edwards said it was, and since then, most of his appearances with
The Ventures have taken place only when McGee couldn't appear with the band.
Since the 1990's Edwards has been involved with a number of Country-Western influenced recording projects, including Art Greenhaw and
The Light Crust Doughboys of Texas. In 2002, shortly after The Ventures announced their new "Wilson Bros. Ventures Model Guitars",
Edwards announced that he was going to produce a guitar of his own design, called "The Hitchhiker", of which a few have been produced
and sold, (with very mixed reviews from the purchasers). Edwards has also staged several "Nokie Edwards" guitar festivals, and guitar
clinics which have drawn fans from both the U.S. and Japan, (again with very mixed reviews).
Most recently, Edwards has pursued an acting career, cast in the Television Series, Deadwood.
To most critics and fans, Nokie Edwards' best and most successful years were those he spent with The Ventures: 1960-61; 1962-68; 1974-84;
1989-92. His playing style is notable for it's effortless musicality, and varied technical approaches: flatpick, finger-picked, and a
hybrid of both styles - sometimes all in the same musical number. He can play any style with success, but in all his playing, the discerning
listener can hear his "California/country" roots.
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