Chuck Pyle, loving husband, father, stepfather, prolific singer-songwriter, guitar virtuoso, fly fisherman, Zen cowboy and all around renaissance man, gave us all the big “adios,” peacefully Friday evening, Nov. 6, 2015, doing what he loved — fishing. He was 70. Born in Pittsburgh, Pa., and raised in Newton, Chuck was the adopted son of Lyle, a railroad conductor, and Julie, a school teacher. He attended nearby Grinnell College until 1965, when he moved to Boulder.
Seeking to immerse himself in the rich Colorado culture of music, poetry and outdoorsmanship of the late 1960s, and wishing to hone his guitar playing and songwriting talents, he played in several local Boulder bands at numerous venues. Later in the 1960s, he divided his time between Steamboat Springs and Boulder, eventually joining the band Colours in the early 1970s as a bass player. Chuck moved to Amsterdam in 1972, to sample its then-thriving folk scene. Returning to the U.S. ca. 1974, he went on to play solo gigs and later headlined The Black Hole Ramblers, singing and playing guitar.
In 1985, Chuck recorded his first widely released album, “Drifter’s Wind.” Although only a modest success, it did guide and refine Chuck’s songwriting, skills he parlayed into the 1990 release of the acoustic only “Step By Step.” Other self-produced albums followed in the years after, to include “Endless Sky,” “Camel Rock,” “Affected By The Moon,” all critically acclaimed and cherished by his fans.
Chuck’s songs were recorded by such country music luminaries as John Denver, Chris LeDoux, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Jerry Jeff Walker. He has made numerous radio and television appearances over the years to include Colorado Public Radio and Austin City Limits. His song “Colorado,” widely regarded as a quintessential soundtrack to Colorado life, was chosen as the theme song of Colorado PBS’s Spirit of Colorado program.
Chuck had a strong and dedicated flock of fans. Many drove long hours across state lines to see his shows. He often had a grueling touring schedule, driving many miles between gigs, but always said the reward was seeing the smile his music brought to people’s faces. He loved writing and performing music and making people laugh.
He is survived by his widow Terri Watson; son Keegan Pyle; and stepdaughter Molly Watson. A celebration of life is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 14 at the Tri Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 State Highway 105, Palmer Lake, CO 80133. Donations are being accepted in lieu of flowers to Chuck Pyle Memorial Fund to P.O. 726 Palmer Lake, CO 80133.