Stephen Canaday: Age 55 | Cause Of Death: AIRPLANE CRASH/ HELICOPTER

Ozark Mountain Daredevils

died 25 Sept. 1995

Former Ozark Mountain Daredevils member Stephen Canaday was killed Saturday (Sept.  25, 1999) when the vintage airplane in which  he was riding crashed into a vacant house in Nashville. Witnesses to the crash attempted to perform CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on Canaday, 55, but he died en route to a local hospital. Canaday’s companion in the plane, computer/software programmer Rick Loudermilk, 52, was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigating officials could not immediately determine the cause of the crash but said Canaday may have been shooting low-level aerial photographs from the North American SNJ-5, a single-engine training plane from the World War II era… Canaday, 55, joined the Ozark Mountain Daredevils in 1977. More recently, he had worked at a Nashville photographic-supply store and as a tour manager for country singer Lee Roy Parnell and Nashville folk-rocker Marshall Chapman.   — Brian Mansfield

Fuller Up The Dead Musicians Directory

Steve Canaday

Stephen Canaday
Age: 55
Died: Sept.  25, 1999


Crash Kills Passenger and Pilot

  By Anne Paine and Dorren Klausnitzer / Staff Writers  

Several Germantown residents poured out of their homes and businesses yesterday and tried to help two men whose vintage airplane crashed through the treetops, skidded across a lawn and smacked against an unoccupied triplex on Fifth Avenue North. 

Both men died. 

Rick Loudermilk, 52, Old Hickory Boulevard, Nashville, who owned a software/computer programming business, was pronounced dead at the scene. Photographer and musician Stephen Paul Canaday, 55, Parthenon Avenue, Nashville, was dead on arrival at Meharry General Hospital after the accident, which happened right before 11 a.m. 

No one on the ground was injured. The cause was still undetermined last night. Officials were trying to determine who was piloting the North American SNJ-5 World War II-era, single-engine trainer plane. 

Startled witnesses stretching from a downtown highrise to Broadway watched on the clear day as the plane took a right turn over Bicentennial Capitol Mall, dipped in a spiral, pulled up and then nose-dived into the historic neighborhood. 

“I knew it couldn’t make that turn,” said Jerry McDowell, 31, who was driving over Jefferson Street Bridge at the time. 

“It hit the trees and you see bushes and leaves scatter everywhere.” 

The plane, which took off from Nashville International Airport, may have turned originally to allow photographs. 

“The pilot had a photographer and was doing some low-level work,” said Keith Stem, Federal Aviation Administration investigator. 

While Loudermilk was signed on as the pilot, officials last night said that type of plane could be flown from the back or front seat and they weren’t certain who had control at the time. 

“We’ve got a lot of questions to ask,” Stem said. “We don’t have any clue as to whether it was a mechanical problem or pilot error.” 

Camera equipment pulled from the wreckage could provide some answers when the film is developed. 

The propeller-driven plane, at least one wing shorn off and left dangling in a hackberry tree, skimmed the top of Jack and Dolores London’s garage and knocked an air conditioner off its base before it came to rest against a building next door to them on Fifth Avenue North, between Monroe and Taylor streets. 

“I heard the ‘womp’ when it hit, then another ‘womp’ and it slid into the house next door,” said Dolores London, 65. Her husband is a former Metro councilman. 

The plane cut a swath through the trees, leaving bits of cable on the ground and a piece of a wing in a garden. Rammed up against the building, the tail section, painted grey with blue and white stripes, jutted out from a tangle of metal and debris. 

The neighborhood jumped into action. London got her garden hose and people began spraying the plane to keep down the fire that had begun. 

Neighbor Wayne Woelk heard one of the men, Canaday, who was conscious and moaning in the back seat. 

“I reached in and unstrapped him and pulled him out,” Woelk said. 

He was bleeding from a long cut on his leg, Woelk said. He tried to undo Loudermilk’s safety belt. 

“I couldn’t unbuckle him,” Woelk said. 

Steff Mahan, who ran from behind her home on Fifth Avenue North, said she didn’t know what to do at first. 

But another neighbor who is a nurse started with CPR on Canaday, and Mahan helped with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until paramedics could take over. 

Others directed traffic or tried to keep the crowd back. 

“It’s a neighborhood where people aren’t afraid to get involved,” Mahan said with a shrug. 

Police stretched yellow tape around almost a full block between Monroe and Taylor streets and Sixth and Fifth Avenue North. Firefighters and officials with the mayor’s offices of Emergency Management and Neighborhoods and the Metro Public Works Department assisted in talking to neighbors, putting foam on the plane and interviewing witnesses. 

Mayor Bill Purcell, who visited the scene, said that while it was a “great tragedy for those we lost,” the immediate and well-coordinated actions of the community along with Metro agents, officers and firefighters were noteworthy. 

“I was impressed especially with the way this neighborhood responded,” Purcell said. “People were moving quickly in the midst of great danger to try to save the pilot and passenger.” 

A concern came out of yesterday’s crash. 

“Planes are flying over this area lower and lower, and it really worries me,” said Irene Boyd, who lives on Fifth Avenue North. “It’s scary.” 

Purcell said this is an issue that needs addressing. 

“I don’t think the city knows the extent of the risk,” he said. “It’s a large city in the air, too. There are a series of airports here and a number of planes moving through the air all the time.” 

How planes are allowed to move above the city will be discussed, he said, with the Metro Nashville Airport Authority board. 

Meanwhile, one neighbor had praise for the pilot. 

“If he hadn’t of pulled out of that (spiral), he would have taken out two of my neighbors’ houses and ours,” said James Blaylock Jr., 31, who watched the plane’s fall from his back porch on Seventh Avenue North. 

Mr. Loudermilk, who may have recently bought the vintage airplane, had been flying for more than a dozen years and was known as a friendly, likable man. 

“He was great fun to be around,” said his brother John Loudermilk. 

Mr. Loudermilk, an airplane and motorcycle enthusiast, graduated from Overton High School in 1964, and later Vanderbilt University, where he was on the swim team. 

“He had a love of old aircraft,” his brother said. 

He leaves two children, ages 10 and 12. 

Mr. Canaday was a pilot and flew helicopters in Vietnam, according to his housesitter, Stanley Hime. 

He also was involved in music and played with the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, a rock band, for years and worked as tour manager for Lee Roy Parnell, a country singer and guitarist, and Marshall Chapman, a Nashville folk-rocker. 

In a prominent place in his home, Mr. Canaday had hung a gold record commemorating more than 500,000 single-copy sales of a Daredevils song. 

“Everybody loved him,” Hime said. 

Most recently, Mr. Canaday had been working at Wolf Camera and Video on 21st Avenue South. He was known at work for being so helpful he would assist customers with changing flats or jump-starting cars. 

He has a grown daughter in San Diego, Calif. 

Funeral arrangements were not complete for either man yesterday. 

The last plane crash within Nashville took place in 1996 when a U.S. Navy F-14 plummeted into a residential area in Antioch, killing five people, including the two airmen. 

Staff writers Jay Orr and Drew Sullivan contributed to this report.  The Tennessean

Former Ozark Mountain Daredevil Dies in Plane Crash

Former Ozark Mountain Daredevils member Stephen Canaday was killed Saturday (Sept. 25) when the vintage airplane in which  he was riding crashed into a vacant house in Nashville.

Witnesses to the crash attempted to perform CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on Canaday, 55, but he died en route to a local hospital. Canaday’s companion in the plane, computer/software programmer Rick Loudermilk, 52, was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Investigating officials could not immediately determine the cause of the crash but said Canaday may have been shooting low-level aerial photographs from the North American SNJ-5, a single-engine training plane from the World War II era. The National Transporation Safety Board has begun a review, though its investigation likely will take between six months and a year to complete.  

Canaday, 55, joined the Ozark Mountain Daredevils in 1977. More recently, he had worked at a Nashville photographic-supply store and as a tour manager for country singer Lee Roy Parnell and Nashville folk-rocker Marshall Chapman.  

                                                                                                                — Brian Mansfield


Steve Canaday

Stephen Canaday, b. 1944, Michigan, United States, d. 25 September 1999, Nashville, Tennessee

All-Music Guide

The Ozark Mountain Daredevils were among the most popular of mid-’70s country-rock outfits, slotting in chronologically between the Eagles and Firefall, although they were never remotely as successful as either. As exponents of ’70s country-rock, the group rode a wave of success for five years on A&M Records, and have survived in some form into the 1990s, with a following just large enough to justify occasional record releases.

The sextet was formed in Arkansas during the early ’70s, consisting of guitarists John Dillon and Steve Cash, blues harpist/singer/guitarist Randle Chowning, drummer/guitarist/singer Larry Lee, keyboard player Buddy Brayfield, and bassist-vocalist Michael Granda, and was signed to A&M Records in 1973. Their first album, recorded under the supervision of producer Glyn Johns, was a critical success and yielded a Top 30 hit in “If You Want to Get to Heaven.” A year later, they had the biggest hit in their history, “Jackie Blue,” a mellow piece of country-rock that got to number three on the charts and still gets played occasionally as a ’70s oldie. They had an ethereal edge to their sound and songs that made them especially appealing to college age listeners during the middle of the decade — sort of Steely Dan with a country twang. Their self-titled debut album set the tone for the group’s next four releases, although by 1978’s Don’t Look Down, the sound was somewhat closer to country-pop than country-rock. Collegiate girls and their boyfriends could relate to them, and a sense of humor didn’t hurt (their third LP, The Car Over the Lake Album had cover art featuring — you guessed it — a car over a lake).

Lee, Dillon (who later played with fellow Daredevil Steve Cash on the Waylon Jennings/Jessi Colter White Mansions concept album), and Chowning authored most of the songs that anyone knows (“Jackie Blue,” “Following the Way I Feel,” “Fly Away Home”). The group enjoyed success primarily on FM radio from 1973 until 1978 — they switched labels to CBS in 1980, losing Lee and Chowning by the end of the decade but picking up Buddy Emmons on steel guitar and Rune Walle on mandolin. The group ceased recording activity in the 1980s, but reformed and began making records again in mid-’90s. — Bruce Eder, All-Music Guide


Q: What is Steve Canaday doing now?  

A: Steve Canaday here reporting from Nashville. Nice to see a mention in your “where are they now” section. I moved to Nashville in ’90 and have tour managed for Shennandoah, Tammy Wynette, Wade Hays, Lee roy Parnell, and did 80 Shows last year with Marshall Chapman on the Jimmy Buffett tour! Semi retired from that now, see Supe and Larry Lee regularly and get back to Springfield often. Thanks again for the swell Web Site. -Steve Canaday  

We received a note from Steve Canaday. Here’s what he had to say: 
I’m recording some stuff I’ve been working on here in Nashville for the last couple of years with some great players as well as cutting some old chestnuts like “Rescue Me” and possibly “Horsetrader” from the OMD days. Larry Lee is helping with “Rescue Me” and John & Steve will play or sing on “Horsetrader”.  Really excited about getting to do this project finally. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks.