Flatpicker Tim May has been working in the Nashville area for over 20 years as a sideman, session player, band member and performer. Higher profile projects have included touring with Patty Loveless and John Cowan, and working as a regular on the Grand Ole Opry with Mike Snider. Tim was the solo guitarist on Charlie Daniels’ recording of I’ll Fly Away, which was nominated for the Best Country Instrumental Performance Grammy in 2005, the same year he was session leader on the critically acclaimed Moody Bluegrass album (he later played on Moody Bluegrass II as well). The Nashville Scene selected Tim in the Best Instrumentalist category in their 2012 Reader's Choice Poll. PK Thompson Guitars, Shubb Capos, Elixir Strings, Benedetto Guitars and Breedlove Guitars all have presented professional endorsements to Tim, a serious nod to his talents.
For fifteen years Tim was a member of Crucial Smith, a powerful bluegrass act that put out two CDs (produced by New Grass Revival’s original flatpicker Pat Flynn) before disbanding in 2003. Flynn has a Tim May tune (King of Babylon) on his latest album plus Father Time, a tune Flynn co-wrote with Tim. Today Tim keeps his chops up playing “AmeriCeltic” – a delightful mix of Irish, Scottish, Old Time and Bluegrass tunes – with his band Plaidgrass. The group released their first CD in January 2008. He's also on the roster of Radiola and performs in a hot-picking ensemble on tour with Brad Davis and Dan Miller called Davis Miller May. As good a singer as he is a flatpicker, Tim’s vocals can be heard on his first solo album, Find My Way Back and on A Bluegrass Tribute to Neil Young, a CD Tim’s produced for CMH Records, released in January 2008. In 2008, he combined forces with Fred Carpenter to form Carpenter & May . In 2010, their debut CD was released on Violin Shop Records, and Carpenter & May charted as the #1 artist with the #1 album at folk radio. In 2011, Davis Miller May released their debut CD, Doves, Crows & Buzzards on FGM Records.
Though he owns and plays an unusually broad variety of instruments, Tim's a true connoisseur of the acoustic plectrum sound. He's been long enchanted by early Gibson pieces and owns the full red sunburst line used in Gibson Mandolin Orchestras that were popular in the early 1900s, including the somewhat elusive Mandobass. Tim also owns several guitars from that period, his 1919 “O” model Guitar perhaps the most exotic. You can hear him play the “O” -- and Sweet Hour of Prayer on his beautiful 1917 Harp Guitar -- in the video series VINTAGE GIBSON: A Closer Look at Instruments Used in Mandolin Orchestras in the Early 20th Century.
Tim also excels in acoustic instrument restoration. He spent six years at The Violin Shop repairing and setting up top-of-the-line violins and other fine instruments, and was a partner for a while in a small repair shop. Today, Tim only has time for a bit of custom work, but you can email him if you have a vintage instrument you'd like him to take look at.
Tim's added the role of author to his resumé, writing a series of books called "Flatpicking Essentials" with Flatpicking Guitar Magazine's editor, Dan Miller.