Pardon me as I pay homage to a home-state hero: Ralph Mooney, one of the “chief architects of the ‘Bakersfield sound,’” died Tuesday at the age of 82. Chris Hillman, a founding member of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, told the Los Angeles Times that “nobody played steel like Ralph. ... When Ralph took a solo, you knew it was all California.”

Master of the steel guitar, Mooney played alongside Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings. The L.A. Times obituary says:

“He was a pioneer and a visionary,” [Waylon] Jennings’ son, country-rock musician Shooter Jennings, said Monday. “He coveted his instrument and ultimately improved it. I feel he was one of the last keys to the old ‘outlaw’ sound and now it’s gone forever. Thanks God for those albums.”

Here’s some Mooney music to start the morning:

Reader Chris Richardson sent in his favorite Mooney tune. It’s great stuff. Thanks, Chris!

(H/t to J. Freedom)