The country music fans all over the United States are in mourning today after it was reported that Hubert Dwane “Hoot” Hester passed away on Tuesday following a long battle with cancer. He was 65 years-old.
Taste of Country reported that Hester was born in 1951 on a Kentucky farm, and that he began playing the fiddle as a small child.
“I remember picturing my fingers flying up and down the neck of that fiddle and mesmerizing everybody if they would only let me get my hands on that fiddle,” he recalled in his official biography.
When Hester was 9 years-old, an elderly neighbor told him that he would give him a fiddle if he learned how to play it. The rest, as they say, was history.
He began his career by playing with the Bluegrass Alliance and the Whites before moving to Nashville in 1973. Rolling Stone reported that Hester’s list of credits grew to include Randy Travis, Alabama, Manhattan Transfer, Steve Wariner, Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs and more.
After performing on Nashville Alive and Pop Goes the Country, Hester put the full range of his musical ability to work as the in-house multi-instrumentalist on Nashville Now once it was launched in the 1980s. WSM DJ and Grand Ole Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs said the position probably made Hester “the most visible fiddle player in America at that time: He was on television five nights a week.”
“He was always a positive person to be around,” Stubbs told Nashville’s Tennessean newspaper. “He was a dependable person, a team player, and a tasteful musician. Whatever was required of him, he did it well.”
In his later years, Hester helped found the acclaimed Western swing band the Time Jumpers. He spent much of the last few years performing with his daughter, Rachel Hester, and her band the Tennessee Walkers.
Hester is survived by his wife Lola, who he was married to for 39 years. He is also survived by three children and three grandchildren.