whose dad sent him away at thirteen years of age to work with Ferlin Husky in Bakersfield,
California. When Ferlin
relocated to Nashville,
Tennessee, Tommy followed
suit. The two continued to
collaborate until the mid-1950s, and Tommy found himself in demand as a
He was a
member of Charley Pride’s Pridesmen, Faron Young’s Country Deputies, and the
bandleader of George Jones’ house band, which performed at the Possum
In 1969, he
took a part-time gig on the country music variety show, Hee Haw. He also
filled in part-time on The Johnny
Cash Show, from 1971 to 1974.
In 1974, he went full-time on Hee Haw and remained on the program for almost two decades.
He appeared on
many recordings during the ‘70s, including Guy Clark’s Texas Cookin’,
Waylon Jennings’ Honky Tonk Heroes, Ronnie Milsap’s
Night Things, Bill Monroe’s
Uncle Pen, and Gene Watson’s
Beautiful Country and Should I Come Home.
In the 1980s,
he was a member of the Nashville Cats and released his solo debut album, Forever Fiddlin’. He also made the cut on Guy Clark’s
Greatest Hits in 1983.
He remained in
Nashville through the early 1990s, before
taking a full-time gig with the Old Dominion Opry
in Williamsburg, Virginia.
have to look far to find Tommy’s name on a bluegrass ou country-and-western record. Many of his recordings have been re-packaged
on CDs such as The Essential Ray
Price, The Excellent Sides of
Swamp Dogg, Vol. 5, and The Music of Bill Monroe:
Randy Barlow recordings
Man (J.L. Wallace/Terry