Grand Ole Opry Legend and Time Jumper Hoot Hester Passes Away
One of the most revered and longtime members of the Grand Ole Opry house band, founding member of the supergroup the Time Jumpers, and fiddler for dozens of important country music stars including Bill Monroe, Hank Williams Jr., and Randy Travis just to name a few, and a favorite of bluegrass fans, has passed away. 65-year-old Hoot Hester died on Tuesday (8-30) after battling Cancer.
Hubert Dwane Hester was born August 13, 1951 on a small farm just outside of Louisville, Kentucky, and later attended Louisville’s Southern High School. In 1973 he moved to Nashville after competing in a fiddling contest where Chet Atkins was one of the judges, and took his first job as a fiddle player for The Whites. Over his career, Hester played in the bands of Bill Monroe, The Compton Brothers, Donna Fargo, Conway Twitty, Ricky Van Shelton, Mel Tillis Jerry Reed, and many others. But Hester was not much for touring, so in 1980 he began to focus on becoming a studio musician, and his work can be heard on scores of recordings from the era.
In 1997, Hoots helped form the Time Jumpers with Dennis Crouch, and he appears on the band’s first record. Hoots regularly played on the Grand Ole Opry throughout his career, and officially became part of the Opry’s house band in 2000. Hoot was fired from the Opry in 2014 in the one of the institution’s many controversial moves over the years, but Hoot remained active in and around Nashville.
Later in life, Hoot worked regularly with Earl Scruggs up to his death in 2012. He also was the bandleader behind Rachael Hester and The Tennessee Walkers—the band of his youngest daughter.
Hoot was a cherished, respected, and revered musician in Nashville and beyond, and will be sorely missed by the traditional country and bluegrass community.
August 30, 2016 @ 12:51 pm
As always thanks for bringing these things to our attention Trigger. Still a young guy but with so much music history to his credit ….wow . Thanks Mr. Hester .
Sharon L. Klosterman
August 31, 2016 @ 11:35 pm
The Angels in Heaven are dancing to Hoot’s music and God is, for sure, tapping his toes to the beat!! He was born with the “Gift of Making Music”. The Hester Family in Bullitt & Southern Jefferson County, Kentucky have been noted for many, many years for their beautiful gift of music to so many. Hoot was a beloved Son, Brother, Nephew, Uncle, Cousin and Friend to many. He is Legendary and will live on through his music.
August 30, 2016 @ 1:34 pm
What a shame, what a shame.
Really a tasteful fiddler who didn’t over imbibe his solos and always knew what notes to play and which ones to avoid.
Time Jumpers put on one heck of a show.
August 30, 2016 @ 1:46 pm
So very sad to hear of the passing of Mr Hester. We loved seeing him perform with Rachael and the Tennessee Walkers at Robert’s. Another great musician gone. My condolences to the family.
August 30, 2016 @ 6:54 pm
Had the pleasure of seeing him play many a time at Nashville Palace and Roberts, sad to see him go. He was a wonderful musician and a very friendly guy.
August 30, 2016 @ 11:00 pm
That’s really sad. He was such a great player, and, as others have commented, a really nice guy too.
August 31, 2016 @ 3:44 am
Such a credit to REAL country music and loss to the field! There is now a big empty spot in Nashville! Heartfelt condolences to family and friends.
August 31, 2016 @ 5:04 am
Hoot was a gentleman, highly talented musician, and an absolute class act. He was a person who lived his life by fine example, and will be missed. My condolences to the Hester family.