Country legend to play Strand Theater

Buck Trent

Special to American Press

JENNINGS — Country music legend Buck Trent is bringing his singing, instrumental expertise and comedy to the stage of the historic Strand Theater.

Trent, who has long delighted audiences with his dynamic showmanship and inspired instrumental music, will perform at 3 p.m. Sunday. The show will also feature Wade and Teresa Landry, Bobby Page and Swamp Pop Express and 9-year-old Ava Perez.

Tickets are $25 and available from Bon Ami Tours at 824-7078 or 370-2512.

“We are going to have a blow out,” the 80-year-old musician said in a telephone interview with the American Press from his home in Branson, Mo. “It is going to be an entertaining show.”

Trent is best known for his work on “Hee Haw,” “The Porter Wagnoner Show” and “The Roy Clark Show,” where he said he learned a lot about music and entertaining. He and Clark are known for their dueling banjos, which won the pair two Country Music Awards.

For more than 50 years, Trent has performed across the country and around the world entertaining audiences with his signature sound and down-home humor. In 1976, he and Clark were the first country music act to tour the Soviet Union.

But Louisiana is among his favorite places to play, he said.

“Porter Wagoner and I played Louisiana more than any other state; it is unbelievable,” he said.

A highly regarded banjo player who invented the electric banjo, Trent is credited for creating the Porter Wagoner sound. He also plays the five-string banjo, dobro, steel guitar, mandolin, electric bass and guitar.

He won the Country Music Association Instrumentalist of the Year in 1975 and 1976, and received several Music City News awards. He was also named Entertainer of the Year in Branson in 2014.

Trent and Mickey Gilley were the first to open a live morning music show in Branson.

Trent said he is working on a new album with Stuart to be released in May. The album also features songs by Parton, Vince Gill, The Oak Ridge Boys, Rhonda Vincent and Connie Smith.

“Working with these people has been fantastic,” he said. “Everybody we called to ask if they’d do a song on the album, they all said yes.”

He has also teamed up with former “Hee Haw” cast mates Jana Jae, Misty Rowe and others for a tribute show.

Trent said his musical roots began as a young boy growing up in Spartanburg, S.C., where his mother worked for a cotton mill.

“Every Saturday she’d take me to town to take lessons on a Hawaiian guitar,” he said. 

He later learned to play the five-string banjo from his mother’s co-worker who had a bluegrass band.

“He’d show me how to play and I’d show the guys in school,” he said. 

He said he got his first job appearing on an Ashville, N.C., television show at age 17 where he made $40 a week, more than his mother earned at the cotton mill.

“I finally made my way to Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry in 1959 by the way of Texas, California, Oklahoma and Georgia,” he said.

In Nashville, he began performing with Jumping Bill Carlisle before joining with Wagoner and working with Bill Monroe.

“I had admired these guys all my years growing up,” he said. “They were all my heroes and I was now playing with them.”

He also played lead guitar on Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” and “Jolene.”

Trent says he has never played for money. 

“I just play because I love doing it and I’ve been doing it a long time,” he said. “I just love it because I get to entertain people from all over. It’s been my whole life for years and I don’t plan to quit.”

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