Howdy Forrester

The National Fiddler Hall of Fame



Howdy Forrester

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Howdy Forrester

Howard Forrester was born on March 31, 1922 in Vernon, Tennessee. His father, grandfather and Uncle Bob all played the fiddle. At the age of eleven Howard contracted rheumatic fever. During the long recovery he learned to play the fiddle. Soon Howard and his brothers were playing for local square dances, Howard on fiddle, Clyde on guitar and Joe on bass. The family moved to Nashville. Howard landed a job in show business. He played with the Vagabonds and then with the Tennessee Valley Boys. This is where he met Harold Goodman who gave him the name “Big Howdy”. They played on the Grand Ole Opry as well as on KVOO in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Howdy married. He and his wife Billie “Sally Ann” Forrester played for Bill Monroe, Howdy on the fiddle and Sally Ann on the accordion. After some time Howdy moved to Dallas and played with fiddler Robert “Georgia Slim” Rutland on the KRLD’s Texas Roundup Show. Howard returned to Nashville with a job on the Grand Ole Opry fiddling with Cowboy Copas until he joined Roy Acuff’s Smoky Mountain Boys whom he played with until he died, August 1, 1987.

Howdy Forrester was “the Fritz Kreisler of Country Fiddlers”. He will be remembered for his twin fiddle technique, double stops, and elegant tone. Every fiddler wanted to emulate his style and learn his tunes. Howdy Forrester wrote a couple of tunes for his friends: Rutland’s Reel and Doc Harris Hornpipe. He also composed “Memory Waltz” which is a favorite of the fiddlers today and often heard in the Grand Champion Division. Howdy is one of the most respected fiddlers in country and bluegrass music. He played more than 38 years on the Grand Ole Opry. He recorded with Roy Acuff, Georgia Slim, Kenny Baker, Chubby Wise, and Flatt and Scruggs. Howdy also made a solo album called “Fancy Fiddlin’ Country Style”. A book was written about Howdy called “Fiddler of the Opry – The Howdy Forrester Story”.

Howard “Howdy” Forrester will be inducted into The National Fiddler Hall of Fame in 2015.