Best Improviser: Charlie McCoy
Charlie McCoy is one of the original "A Team" members, the Nashville Cats who were every producer's first call when a big session came up and made Music Row into the recording hub that it is today. In the Sixties, McCoy was a multi-instrumentalist who played harmonica, guitar, bass, drums, and a variety of wind and brass instruments on records for Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley and, of course, Bob Dylan. It was McCoy's talent that actually convinced Dylan to record in Nashville in the first place, which gave birth to the Blonde on Blonde album and brought Music City worldwide renown. At 75 years old, McCoy was a featured member of the Dylan Fest house band, and he was still bad to the bone. He played on about half of Night 2's 31-song set list and never missed a note on his trusty mouth harp. It was kind of like seeing what Dylan saw all those years ago, in fact: McCoy would stand onstage, relaxed and arms behind him, wait for a subtle signal from a fellow band member and spring into action, tearing into a fiery solo or tasty fill with a first-time-ever feel that somehow also felt like it had always been.