Category Archives: Hall of fame

Henry Clay Gilliand 2016

Henry Clay Gilliand

Wade Stockton 2013

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Wade Stockton
Inducted 2013

 

Wade Stockton was born on February 25, 1960 in Victoria, Texas.  The only child of Marshall and Mary Stockton, Wade exhibited an artistic talent at an early age by drawing and painting, taking lessons that continued all the way through school. But by junior high, Wade started playing music.  He played guitar in a garage band for school events and the local hootenanny.  Then one day his Pap-paw took him over to Jake Glidewell’s house to accompany him.   Jake must’ve liked his playing because he started taking Wade around to jam sessions, rest homes and other musical get-togethers. On the 4th weekend of April in 1974,  however, Wade saw and heard something that would change his life forever.  That’s right, his Mom and Dad took him to Hallettsville for the Fiddlers Frolics.   Seeing Dale Morris swoon the ladies and hearing Randy Elmore and Terry Morris was more than he could stand. Wadejust had to learn to fiddle!  He got his first fiddle the day he got out of 8th grade.   When Wade makes up his mind to do something, he usually does it. So when most kids were outside playing and enjoying their summer, Wade was holed up in his bedroom with a fiddle and a record player trying to learn tunes. The fiddle bug had officially bit!

Within months, he started competing.  His Dad probably put a million miles on that old station wagon, hauling him to two or three contests almost every weekend. With a lot of help along the way from fiddlers like Bill Gilbert, Bill Cox, Parvin Hoffman and Terry Morris, he started winning some contests. And he certainly couldn’t have done it without the help of Cliff Fryer, who always made sure he had a good fiddle to play.

Wade has also been willing to help out and judge, too. He’s judged everywhere from the World Championships in Crockett, Texas, to the Grand Master in Nashville, and the Fiddlers’ Frolics in Hallettsville, even becoming Emcee of the Fiddlers’ Frolics.

After years of competition, Wade decided to start playing in bands. He loves playing in front of a lively crowd and has been fortunate enough to do so and record with some of the finest musicians and singers in the world, on stages far and abroad.   In addition, Wade teaches fiddle, guitar and mandolin lessons several nights a week, and has been blessed with some awesome students over the years, some of whiom have competed on this very stage in Hallettsville.

In the fall of 1993, Wade married the love of his life Melinda Harbour. Wade also has three beautiful children, Cody Stockton, Randi Stockton and Brandon Kowalik, all of which play music and are very talented. Wade loves to hunt and ride motorcycles. He may be the only fiddler to have ever gone 212.7 mph on a motorcycle in a standing mile. Wade is also a proud member of Goliad Masonic Lodge No. 94.

Dale Morris Jr. 2012

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Dale Morris Jr.
Inducted 2013

Dale Morris Jr. was born November 13, 1965, in Ft. Worth, Texas, to Dale Morris Sr. and the late Anita J.
Hardgrave. He currently resides in Ft. Worth, Texas. He began playing the fiddle at the age of three with his earliest influence being his dad. They would attend jam sessions at the homes of Werner Cain or Bill Gilbert, the best fiddlers around would attend. With these jam sessions Dale considers himself self-taught, learning from tape recordings and vinyl LP’s, never having formal lessons. Dale grew up around the contest circuit influenced by Benny Thomasson, Orville Bums, The Solomons, The Franl<lins, Joe Venuti, Keith Coleman, Buddy Spicher, Tommy Jackson, and a few others. He attended the Fiddlers’ Frolics for the first time at the age of six and remembers the encouragement given by Cliff and Velda Fryer in his early contest years. Dale has competed in many fiddling contests, winning numerous championships; including the Texas State Championship, · Grand National title, as well as the Grand Master Fiddle Championship. Dale treasures the opportunity he had being around Benny Thomasson, in the early 1980’s, when Benny moved back to Texas from Washington State. Benny is probably his biggest influence in
contest fiddling. Dale’s uncle, Terry Morris, was also a big inspiration to him. In Dale’s own words, “Terry
certainly raised the bar for all of us in the fiddle world.” Dale also remembers a day he got to spend in
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma with Orville Burns in 1999, “What a treat that was! We went and picked him
up at the nursing home, then went to his son, Orville Jr .’s home and fiddled the rest of the day.” By the
time Dale was ten years old, he began his professional career performing with the Bar-D Wranglers, at the
Bar-D Chuckwagon Suppers and Western Show in Durango, Colorado. He performed there for the next
three summers alongside his father. Upon graduation from high school, Dale went to college on a music
scholarship and performed with the jazz band at Weatherford College, in Weatherford, Texas. In 1987,
Dale went to work in Branson, Missouri with The World’s Favorite Hobo, Boxcar Willie. He would spend
the next three years with Boxcar performing at his theatre, as well as touring the United States and Europe.
A few years later he began working with Marty Stuart and The Hot Hillbilly Band touring the US and
Canada. In 1992, Dale was part of the No Hats Tour with Travis Tritt. He then took a brief hiatus from the
road and worked at Cowboys Night Club in Dallas, Texas, for the next six years. In 2001, he started
touring with country music legend, Ray Price. Thus far his work with Ray has led to numerous television
appearances and tours with Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson as part of the Last of The Breed Tour. His
music has appeared on motion picture soundtracks, television jingles, and music videos. Dale is a highly
sought after studio musician and has recorded with such artists as Charley Pride, Deryl Dodd, John Mayall,
Bob Wills Texas Playboys, Ray Price, Marty Stuart, Chuck Rainey, and many others. In addition to his
studio work, Dale, teaches at workshops, seminars, and private lessons. He also enjoys judging fiddle
contests around the country. Dale is an avid musical instrument historian with a passion for vintage
instruments. Dale is extremely proud of his four children Marcus, Michael, Shaun, and Allison, who are all
musically inclined and will carry on the family tradition.

Kenneth Morris 2012

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Kenneth Morris
Inducted 2012

Kenneth Morris was born on October 1st, 1950 in Gainesville, Texas to Louise and Laverne Morris, the
fourth child of six siblings. Kenneth currently resides in Alvord, Texas. He began playing guitar at the age of ten
backing up his older brother Dale on fiddle. It wasn’t long before he began competing in contests across Texas and
surrounding states. His nephew, Dale Jr. said that he has many fond memories of traveling to contests with
Kenneth and recalls him being a very sought after guitar picker. Kenneth was state champion in 1978 and 1981
and runner-up in 1987. Some of the musicians he has recorded with include Dale Morris Sr., Terry Morris,
Dale Morris Jr., Wade Stockton, Ricky Boen, Royce Franklin, Rex Gillentine, Bobby Christman, Jerry
Thomasson, Valerie Ryals, Bill Lyell, Tommy and Elsie Burger. Kenneth performed live on the Grand Ole Opry
with Dale Jr. in 1989 and 1992. He recalls that on one of the trips to the Opry they drove straight in from Fort Worth, arriving five minutes before they were supposed to go on stage; they had no time for rehearsing and as Kenneth walked on stage he
was tuning his guitar. Although he is known for his guitar picking, Kenneth, in his own way, helped
shape one of the greatest breakdown fiddlers of all time; when his brother Terry started playing
fiddle, he asked Kenneth to teach him the tune Apple Blossom. Kenneth did, and the fiddling
community has reaped the rewards ever since.
Family gatherings have always consisted of a big jam, and each of the family members sort of
inspired each other to excel. Kenneth is proud of his nephew, Anthony Wilson, who he has
watched grow into a remarkable musician, and he has enjoyed jamming with Anthony over the
years. Of course, Kenneth is very proud of his two daughters, Jennifer Kloesel and Julie Morris,
both of whom are excellent musicians themselves. His grandchildren Bernard, Nicholas, Isabella,
and Juliet have also shown musical talents and interests. Kenneth remarked that what makes this
induction really special is being in the hall-of-fame alongside his family members, Dale Sr., Terry
and Dale Jr.
Besides music, the fun-loving Kenneth enjoys working out at the gym, spending time with his
family, travel and deep sea fishing.

 

Bob Wills 2011

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Bob Wills
Inducted 2011

Bob Wills (1905-1975) was born near Kosse, Texas. Fiddler, songwriter, bandleader and
consummate showman, he was a uniquely talented and charismatic individual. His musical
influence, especially in the late 1930’s and 40’s, ignited fans across the country and, to this day,
his legacy ~spires musicians around the world. Wills rose to stardom in the mid-1930’s and
performed well into the 60′ s. From a family of champion fiddlers, he grew up to the sounds of
old time fiddle tunes, jazz, blu~s, country, mariachi and gospel to ultimately perform the
American music form known as Western Swing. His unconventional “holler” and
animated presence thrilled audiences in dance halls, on the radio and in Western movies.
His music lifted spirits and brought people to their feet and his innovative and
improvisational talents kept the music fresh. Wills’ famous Texas Playboys band
resulted from his admiration for and ability to attract and promote gifted musicians.
Known as the “King of Western Swing,” Bob Wills is recognized as a major
influence on music and musicians who followed him. He and his music remain
“deep within the heart” of America.
“He loved music more than money and wanted to play the style that best expressed his feeling
and soul. Music was not a means to an end; music was an end in itself. Music was not a way ef
life to him; music was life. It was while he was playing that he was coefident and secure, that
he enjoyed some his happiest moments. To the end, the frontier fiddling, the blues, the New
Orleans jazz were all blended into a music that was called western swing, but was really Bob
Wills.” – Dr. Charles R. Townsend “San Antonio Rose, The Life and Music if Bob Wills”

P.T. Riley 2010

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PT Riley
Inducted in 2010

Patrick Thomas Riley (P.T.) was born to Mike & Mary Catherine Riley in Fort Worth, TX on January 25, 1949 “right smack dab” in the middle of one of the worst snow storms in years. The roads were so icy that Mike & Mary had to call a cab to get to the hospital. At an early age P.T. had a love for music and mechanical things. His mother and grandmother encouraged him to expand his knowledge and try different venues of expression. At age four P.T.’s father brought him a guitar from Mexico. P.T. loved the guitar very much and played it until it broke. P.T.’s father was a contractor and moved to different jobs around the U.S. introducing P.T. to different cultures and people. At age eight P.T. received a Roy Rogers guitar with a push button cord maker and he learned to play and sing the songs in the Roy Rogers book. While his mother had friends over visiting he would run up and down the halls singing and playing the songs he learned. Because he had a new Baby sister named Anne Rose, it wasn’t long before the guitar disappeared. P.T. thinks to this day that his mother must have hid it, as he never found the guitar again.

In second grade he began taking trumpet lessons and performing at school. He continued to take lessons and play the trumpet throughout high school & college. Still keeping his love for guitar & western music, he bought a Stella with black diamond strings, and proceeded to teach himself to play guitar left handed, without restringing the instrument. To this day, he plays the guitar upside down.

While in the U.S. Navy Reserves, P.T. went to work for Southwestern Bell. At the age of twenty, he was placed on active duty in Guam. Because of his work experience with the phone company, he went into the Navy as a communications technician and was responsible for maintaining electronic communication systems. There, while in the Navy, he found an outlet for his music, and received his first formal guitar training from fellow sailors. Every night, a group of sailors would go though the galley practicing cords & playing songs. After leaving the Navy, he returned to Southwestern Bell where he worked as a lineman in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

In the early 80s, P.T. transferred to Beeville to be closer to family. In 1984, he met and married Mary Ann. Although each of them had three children from previous marriages, their already quite large family was not complete until Bonnie came along. P.T. and Mary Ann’s children include five daughters: Katrina Sallee, Margaret Hunt, Sara Clark, Bonnie Riley, Amy Segler, and two sons Todd and Chad Sneed. They also have eight grandchildren.

P.T. had been singing and playing guitar at the local Country Opry shows around the Victoria area, when he realized that Bonnie wanted to be on stage too. Jake Glidewell suggested that P.T. bring Bonnie up to Hallettsville and see some of the talented young fiddlers. While there, she met a young fiddler named Regina Mathews and from that point on was eager to play the fiddle. P.T. drove Bonnie to lessons and fiddle contests throughout Texas, and played backup for her for many years.

PT likes to recall one fiddle contest in particular, which took place on a hot July day in Shepherd Texas. He entered the guitar contest up against the best guitar players in the state. P.T. won the contest to the surprise of most of the pickers and himself. He believes he might have just baffled the judges by playing upside down and backwards.

P.T. became an active member of several fiddle groups, and helped out wherever needed. Either by organizing fiddle contests, producing newsletters, creating websites or taking photos and video, P.T. has always been available and eager to help. Early on, he saw the need to archive old music, photos and stories. Under the guidance of Kenneth Henneke, Stuart Fryer, Alan Jirkovsky, Frank Zaruba, and others, he has worked to improve the Hallettsville Hall of Fame by refining the information about the members and including some music samples so that it is easily accessible to the public. With the assistance of Annie Mae Henneke, Frank Zaruba and Cherri Fryer he has kept up with the annual contest results and photos for the web site.

P.T. loves Texas fiddle music, the camaraderie of everyone involved, and the preservation of history. No one appreciates more, the amount of work and talent that is required to become a musician of the caliber found on stage at Hallettsville.

PT wishes to thank all those who have helped him with the task of preserving Texas old Time fiddle music.

ADDITION:

PT Riley passed away May 9, 2010.

Valerie Ryals O’Brien 2009

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Valerie Ryals O’Brien
Inducted in 2009

“Why, when she was born I thought she was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. We could tell she was musical ever since she was a little bitty thing. She’d go around humming and trying to sing before she could even talk, ” recalled Phern Ryals, proud mother of Valerie Delaine Ryals O’Brien.

Valerie’s fascination with music led to an epiphany when she was three years old; she discovered her mother’s fiddle stored under her parents’ bed. “I’d just pluck the strings and I fell in love with the sound. I knew then that I had to learn to play the fiddle,” Valerie remembers.

It was not until the age of nine, however, that Valerie’s formal instruction with music began. Upon entering fourth grade she enrolled in orchestra where she learned the rudiments of technique and reading music on the staff. Her dedication and obvious passion for the instrument came to the attention of her grandfather, O.G. Ryals, a fiddler of the old time folk tradition, who, striking while the iron was hot, introduced little Valerie to Rubber Dolly. And although she has never forsaken her
connection with the classical realm, she knew that the tunes her granddaddy played struck a resonance in her very heart and soul.

Acting according to the advice of L.T. Childress – a workmate of Valerie’s father, Lenn Ryals – her parents began taking her to local fiddle contests and events where she could, as a spectator, absorb some of what the fiddle players on stage were doing. Moreover, she was able to meet and eventually receive one-on-one guidance from such icons as Dale Morris, Claude Henson, Eck Robertson, Benny Thomasson, Jim “Texas Shorty” Chancellor, Major Franklin, Tommy Hughes, Jesse Mears, and the legendary Solomon brothers, Norman and Vernon.

“At that time, there weren’t many females in the fiddling world who seemed to really stick with it,” recalls Valerie. “ But I’ll always remember the kindness and patience of the wonderful gentlemen who helped me get started playing, the fiddlers and the guitar players. They became like family members.” Speaking of family members, when brother Lenn Junior came along, it wasn’t long before his young fingers started itching to play music. Then baby sister Lydia was born and, lo and behold, all three of Lenn and Phern’s young uns were musicians. And all three of them continue to play fiddle, guitar and mandolin to this day. Holidays and family get- togethers are filled with music.

At age 13, Valerie’s dedication finally started paying off when she won the Junior World Championship in Crockett, Texas. Other highlights, at various times throughout her career, include First Runner-Up in the World Champion Contest, and the first woman on the T.O.T.F.A. Board of Directors. For a number of years now, Valerie has performed as a Master Artist with Texas Folklife Resources, a non-profit Austin- based organization whose mission is the preservation and perpetuation of the folk arts. Her affiliation with T.F.R. has led her to perform in such diverse venues as public and private schools, car lots, churches, and neighborhood bars in small- town Texas – from the Gulf coast to the Panhandle.

She has also served as an educator for the Texas Commission of the Arts wherein her role was much the same as that with T.F.R., taking her all over the Lone Star State. She has been an instructor at both Johnny Gimble’s and Randy Elmore’s fiddle camps, as well as an instructor for DFW WOW Suzuki Violin Institute and TCU’s Fiddle Workshop. In 2005 Valerie was honored by being chosen, along with Bob Wills and Johnny Gimble, to represent Texas’ rich tradition of fiddling by having her fiddle on loan for exhibit in the Bob Bullock Museum of Texas History in Austin.

After graduating high school in 1973 Valerie enrolled in the Suzuki teacher-training program at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. The Suzuki – or “mother tongue” – approach has proven itself a valuable resource in teaching not only classical, but music in the old time Texas genre. Valerie remembers her mother cautioning her when she was a teenager that she’d better practice and stay serious about her music because some day she may have to rely on it for a livelihood. Phern’s advice turned out to be more prophetic than she probably realized at the time. For more than twenty- five years Valerie’s Music Studio in Burleson, Texas has launched hundreds -if not thousands- of students into the world of Texas fiddling. The studio has grown to the point that, without the dedication and help of sister Lydia, daughters Julie and Jennifer, longtime friend Mary Lamb, and a score of other generous and able assistants throughout the years, its continuing growth and success would be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.

Valerie reminisces that, insofar as she had always wanted to be in business for herself, operating a teaching studio seemed the obvious thing to do. Moreover, raising two young daughters precluded the thought of touring and, in general, playing in a “band- type environment.” Although the operation of a teaching studio demands much of her time, Valerie continues to find opportunities to play her fiddle for appreciative audiences all across the U.S.A. “Now that my daughters Jennifer and Julie are grown, I enjoy going to places like California and Wyoming and Tennessee for a few days and playing. My husband, Rich O’Brien, performs at quite a few cowboy gatherings across the country and I enjoy going and playing with him. But I’m always glad to get back home and be with my three beautiful little grand babies, Bernard, Nicholas, and Isabella. They are a source of incredible joy to me.”

Valerie’s skill as a fiddle player has enabled her to share the stage with such luminaries as The Chieftains, with whom she performed at Fort Worth’s Bass Performance Hall in 2000. Her Texas- style approach fit Paddy Maloney’s Emerald Isle style like a glove and, though it need not be said, a good time was had by all in the sold- out performance!

In 2006 Valerie returned to Bass Hall at the invitation of singer/songwriter Michael Martin Murphey as his special guest for his annual Cowboy Christmas tour. Again, Valerie’s playing and poise made it appear as though she had always been a permanent part of the Rio Grand band. Lately, Valerie has performed with Texas music legend Red Steagall both onstage and in the recording studio. Additionally, she coordinates and organizes the fiddle contest held at the annual Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering and Western Swing Festival in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards each October.

And if all the above isn’t enough, she still manages to play a few gigs each year with her all-girl instrumental band, The Half Note Heifers, which features daughter Julie on guitar, sister Lydia on mandolin, and friend Billie Kauhs on upright bass. Valerie’s reputation as a consummate instrumentalist is eclipsed only by her dedication and skill as a perpetuator and teacher of the music she loves. In 2004, Valerie was recognized by the Zonta Club of Johnson County as one of two Women of Achievement in business.

“ The world seems to get crazier every day and to be able to do something positive in a wholesome environment, like teaching in my little studio, is something I’m very grateful for. It’s like I heard Dolly Parton say once, ‘If you can make a living doing something you enjoy, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.’ And I don’t plan to ever fully retire because I love what I do.”

Valerie Ryals O’Brien is a Lone Star treasure. And Phern and Lenn Ryals are proud of what she has done… and rightfully so.

Rex Gillentine 2008

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Rex Gillentine
Inducted in 2008

orn in Graham, Texas on October 27, 1953, to Henry and Betty Gillentine, Rex was the youngest child and has one sister, Sherry who is married to Robert Rose. His dad was a fiddle player, and his grandparents were musicians, so Rex grew up listening to music. His family often performed at musicals and participated in jam sessions around Graham.

After moving to Mineral Wells, Texas in 1967, and breaking an ankle by falling from a horse, Rex started learning guitar. He said, “I couldn’t do anything much, so I started trying to play guitar for my dad.” Rex’s father was playing with the Marshall Holmes Band and Rex would go along and watch Marshall play, and tried to play as Marshall did. This led to entertaining at musicals around the area, and it was at one of these musicals that Rex met Jack Burger, who “started him off right.” While playing at jamborees, Rex met Randy Elmore and Bill Gilbert. Rex and Randy spent many weekends together playing at jamborees, fiddle contests, and jam sessions at Bill Gilbert’s home and at McMinn’s Peach Shed.

This is where Rex began learning from Tommy Burger and Chris Hazlewood. Moving to Plano in 1971, Rex finished high school, graduating in 1972. During this time he continued attending fiddle contests and jam sessions, and played with a local band. He was always anxious to meet and work with good musicians. He credits such associations with giving him the incentive to improve, and says that he then began to understand how talented Omega Burden, Buddy Weeks, and so many other guitar players were.
In 1973, Rex teamed up with Terry Morris, beginning a long association with the Morris family. The two would attend fiddle contests from spring through fall, and take odd jobs during the winter. Terry would win the fiddle contests and Rex would usually win the guitar prize. Between contests they would stay with various musicians or with Louise and Willie Howard (Terry’s mom and step-dad).

Rex moved back to Graham in 1976, continuing contests and playing jobs on weekends. He married Sue Reeves in 1987, and a year later his son, Nicholas (a budding guitarist), was born. Family responsibilities required Rex to take a job that required working weekends, ruling out all but perhaps a contest per year. Moving to the family farm in 1999 allowed more time to participate in contests and to enjoy musician friends who drop by to visit and jam.

Teaching guitar workshops, including at the National Old Time Fiddlers’ Contest in Weiser, Idaho, and for Jana Jae’s Fiddle Camp, has allowed Rex to share his knowledge of music. His guitar tablature has been printed in Acoustic Guitar Magazine, Swing Essentials, and other publications. He has played with such fiddle players as Orville Burns and Matt Hartz on the Grand Ole Opry, and has recorded with Terry Morris, Dale Morris, Sr., Randy Elmore, Wes Westmoreland, Johnny Smith, Ricky Boen, Bubby Hopkins, Matt Hartz, Danita Rast, and many others.

Among those to whom Rex gives credit for his musical development are his parents, Jack Burger, Tommy and Elsie Burger, Marshall Holmes, the Elmore family, the Morris family, Sleepy Johnson, Omega Burden, Buddy Weeks, the Franklin family, the Solomon family, Chris Hazlewood, Bill Gilbert, Bartow Riley, and many more.

Rex wishes to extend a thank you to all who have helped and encouraged him through the years, and says the “fiddle family” friends are the greatest!

Ricky Turpin 2008

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Ricky Turpin
Inducted in 2008

Ricky Turpin was born in Lubbock Texas on October 3rd, 1964 to Weldon and Jo Turpin, he has one brother Russ, who also played rhythm guitar. Ricky started his interest in fiddling at age twelve and was influenced by his dads fiddle playing . There is a story about how his dads old fiddle kept breaking and it would sit for a long time then he would repair it again and it would break again, this made it hard on Weldon to play so he quit for awhile. According to Ricky; “We were pheasant hunting with my dads friend who had just purchased an old student fiddle and it was there that I decided that I wanted to learn how to play the fiddle before he had even bought it!” (Ricky still has that same fiddle today.)

His primary influence was by Dick Barrett, Texas Shorty and Benny Thomasson albums as well as Terry Morris who became his primary influence and friend. Ricky’s favorite two fiddlers are Terry Morris (Texas style fiddle), Johnny Gimble, “I like practically everything about his fiddling: swing, back up fiddle, and waltzes. ”

Ricky found out early a violin is like a human voice,” he said. “It’s a very versatile instrument. You can back your bow close to the bridge and apply lots of pressure and you’ll get like a harmonic and it’ll sound like a flute.

You can make it sound exactly like a bird. With the bow you can make your notes short, like a pick, or if you draw a long bow, you can make it last as long as you want to – like somebody’s blowing a horn. It’s just neat.”

When Ricky was twenty-two he was the first recipient of the Tom T. Hall Endowed Scholarship in Country Music at South Plains College, he said school officials neglected to tell him it was a scholarship award of $5,000. He thought the honor was as top music student in the Country and Bluegrass Music program. One of Ricky’s instructors at South Plains College, Ed Marsh, said, “Turpin is one of the most capable and outstanding musicians ever to have been enrolled in our program. We feel Ricky is an excellent choice for our first recipient and will set high standards for scholarship recipients in years to come.”

Ricky has been the Texas State Fiddle Champion twice, a World Series of Fiddling Champion, first runner-up for the Grand Nationals Championship and a two-time Grammy winner. On the recommendation from Johnny Gimble, considered by many to be one of the best fiddle players ever, Turpin came to New Braunfels in 1988 to play with Clay Blaker and the Texas Honky-Tonk Band.

After two years with Blaker, Turpin joined Johnny Bush for a year and a half. Next, Ricky went to work for Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel band. Larry Franklin had recommended Ricky to be his replacement, in the two and a half years while playing for Asleep at the Wheel he won two Grammy’s.

On the tribute album for Bob Wills, Ricky recorded with some of the ex-Texas Playboys like Johnny Gimble, Herb Remington, and Eldon Shamblin. And with assorted celebrities including artists like Huey Lewis, Merle Haggard, George Strait, Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Chet Atkins, Marty Stewart, Lyle Lovett, Suzy Bogus, Riders In The Sky, and Willie Nelson. With all his many awards and accomplishments he still remains passionate about the old time fiddle style itself.

“You have to study and be familiar with a style to get use to what it sounds like. The kind of music I like to play the most is the breakdown fiddle tunes we play in contests and western swing because I like the drive and the swing beat- it moves me. When you get a good rhythm the music just flows out and you come up with some stuff you’ve never heard before in your life. That’s when it’s really fun.”

Bobby Christman said once, “I’d say Ricky’s goal is to be someone like Johnny Gimble. Anytime anyone wants a good fiddle player, I mean with a top name, anywhere, they’d call Johnny Gimble. I’d say that’s what Ricky wants and I’d say he ain’t far from that.”

To quote Ricky, “ I want to play music as long as I can.” Ricky is living in the New Braunfels area maintaining a busy musical career.

Steve Williams 2007

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Steve Williams
Inducted in 2007

Stephen Ray Williams was born in Houston, Texas on September 13 th1951 as the only child of Carroll and Marcie Williams. He was about 6 years old his Dad introduced him to fiddle music and tried to get Steve to play the fiddle, but this was not the instrument of his choice as Steve heard the guitar calling his name. His Dad had Jams at his house that included Chuck Goss, Dave Davison, EJ Hopkins all of and these musicians were instrumental in Steve’s interest in playing the guitar. Steve’s Dad owned a Martin D-28 guitar but he was not allowed to play it in fear that it would be scratched. What really got the ball rolling was when EJ Hopkins let Steve play on an old J-45 Gibson guitar that belong to his brother.

Early one summer morning around 4 a.m., his mother woke him up and told him to go to the kitchen. He could hear the sound of a fiddle and guitar playing music; it was Norman Solomon and Omega Burden playing “Leather Britches.” After seeing Omega’s style of guitar playing he became imprinted for life. Bill Northcutt also played a big part of Steve’s younger life by hauling him around to every contest they could make. Summers were spent at the homes of Omega Burden, Norman Solomon’s and the Franklins, learning the music. Whenever Steve (11), Larry Franklin (9) and Gordon Townsend (9) could get together at the contest they were like the three musketeers.

Others who inspired him along the way playing guitar during his early teens were: Buddy Weeks, Royce & Ray Franklin, Major Franklin, EJ & Violet Hopkins, Lewis & Louise Franklin, Dave & Glena Davidson, Chuck Goss, Norman & Betty Solomon and Jessie Mears.

In 1970 Steve married his “high school sweetheart” Jackie Allen, recently they celebrated their 37 th anniversary on March 14 th. During his high school days, he played bass guitar for a country western band, which became a turning point in his life. The following 9 or 10 years Steve kept busy playing bass with several country western bands on the weekends plus going to fiddle contests when he had a chance. He did all this along with his regular daytime job, thus giving him the nickname “Done Gone,” by his Dad. When his Dad would call for him, it was either,”he’s done gone to work, or he’s done gone with EJ & Carl to a contest.” By this time Steve had his own little tribe started. His three daughters, Tammy, Christy, and Marcie will tell you about their childhood saying, “All I remember is being hauled around to fiddle contest and dollaring my Daddy to death for the carnival rides.” Still he tried to make the contests whenever his 2 nd job of playing bass in the bands would allow him some breaks on the weekends. In 1980 Steve went back into the fiddling circuit and won the TOTFA State Championship Guitar contest in Burnet, Texas. In 1987 Steve moved to Porter, Texas where he lived for 19 years. In 1990 he held the TOTFA and Fiddlers Frolic Guitar Championship title and repeating this feat again 2006.

The call of playing bass for dances was so strong that in 1990 Steve started playing again for a country western band named “The Winchesters,” until 2000.

Starting his own company in 2001 as a State and Federal Inspector for different engineering firms that design airports in Texas. He could not continue playing with the Winchester Band due to his busy job requirements. By this time his tribe had grown and blessed Steve and Jackie with many grandchildren. After having three daughters, a wish for a grandson was in order, but he would have to wait. His first two were granddaughters, Audrey Denmon (13) and Shelby Cooper (10). Still he insisted to his daughters that some grandsons were needed in this family then BOOM! Just 4 months apart, he got his wish, two grandsons, Stephen Denmon (5) and Austin Mosley (5) (nicknamed Dynamite and Demolition). After a while came another grandson, Cole Mosley (4), another granddaughter, Taylor “Tatorbug” Cooper (3) and one on the way.

Steve and Jackie just recently moved a year ago to Lampasas, Texas on a 30-acre farm/ranch. Fiddle contests are no longer just contests; they’ve become family reunions for the whole William’s clan. So many life long friends have been made along the way, and so many stories to be told with not enough time or paper to list the names of my fiddling family who I would like to say “Thank You For Your Time And Talent.” And a big “THANK YOU” to my little brother (Carl Hopkins) for all the years of playing fiddle tunes and trying to wearing me down and my protege Anthony Mature who will carry on and help teach other young guitarist. My inspiration now is the younger ones, “WOW” they blow me away.