Grand Ole Opry House Fiddler Resides in Dickson, TN

Hoot Hester from the Grand Ole Opry band in Dickson, TN
Hoot Hester from the Grand Ole Opry band in Dickson, TN

Dickson may be a former railroad town with a long tradition of farming, but the county also rightfully claims an equally rich cultural heritage. Just 45 minutes down the road from Nashville, Dickson has had a front-row seat - and often, a place on the stage - as country, gospel and Americana music have developed and matured in the nearby Music City.

For instance, Hoot Hester, a longtime Dickson resident, has been a powerful force in country music for more than four decades, and has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry house band since 2000. As one of the most sought-after fiddlers in country music, Hester has backed singers including Bill Monroe, Ray Charles, Randy Travis and Earl Scruggs, as well as many others.

Born Hubert Hester on a farm outside Louisville, Ky., Hester learned to play the fiddle at age 9, when a neighbor loaned him one and said he could keep it if he learned to play. After winning fifth place in a fiddle contest in the early 1970s and attracting the attention of some of the judges, which included Chet Atkins, Hester began getting jobs in Nashville. He moved to the middle Tennessee area in 1973 and began working on the road with various musicians. In 1975, he purchased land in Dickson, where he and his wife have lived since, raising their family here.

"We love the small-town atmosphere, but we're still fairly close to Nashville," Hester says. "Dickson has good schools and churches, and the people are nice and friendly. We have everything we need here."

For Hester and other musicians like him, Dickson offers the security of a small town, perfect for raising a family. But Dickson County also offers close proximity to other musicians and artists and an arts community that helps them thrive. Today, in addition to his duties at the Opry, Hester writes and produces music with Rachel Hester, his youngest daughter, who also lives here.

Check out more on the arts in Dickson, TN.

Reader Comments