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  • Born

    31 March 1922

  • Born In

    Tennessee, United States

  • Died

    1 August 1987 (aged 65)

Howdy Forrester (born Howard Wilson Forrester on 31 March 1922; died 1 August 1987) was an American bluegrass fiddler and a popularizer and practiser of the "Texas" or "show fiddle" style. In addition to solo recordings, he was a long-time member of Roy Acuff and His Smoky Mountain Boys and recorded albums as Kenny Baker & Howdy Forrester and as Howdy Forrester & John Hartford.

Forrester was born in Vernon, Tennessee, into a family of many fiddlers; his father, grandfather and uncle played the fiddle. In the mid 1930s, Forrester began performing with his brothers. In 1938, he joined The Vagabonds and landed a job on the Grand Ole Opry. When Herald Goodman of the Vagabonds formed another act called the Tennessee Valley Boys, Forrester was soon to join up. He and Herald Goodman received an offer in 1939 to join the Saddle Mountain Roundup radio show in Tulsa, Oklahoma. During this time Forrester received his nickname, "Big Howdy," by Goodman.

In 1940, he moved to Nashville with his wife to work with Bill Monroe and Monroe's group, the Blue Grass Boys. In 1943 he was drafted and had to leave the band (he was replaced by Jim Shumate) but his wife Billie "Sally Ann" Forrester remained with Monroe as his sole accordion player until 1945. After Forrester's discharge from the US Navy in 1946 he returned temporarily to Monroe. Soon he moved to Dallas to join Georgia Slim Rutland and the Texas Roundup performing at KRLD-AM.

In 1950, he joined Cowboy Copas before becoming a full-time member of Roy Acuff and His Smoky Mountain Boys in 1951. He also made recordings with Flatt & Scruggs in the early 1950s. In 1960, he recorded a solo album called Fancy Fiddlin' Country Style for the MGM subsidiary Cub label. In 1964, Forrester left the Smoky Mountain Boys to join the Acuff-Rose Artists Corporation. He continued to record solo albums during the 1970s and 1980s.

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