Hugh Farr

b. Thomas Hubert Farr, 6 December 1903, Llano, Texas, USA, d. 17 March 1980. An important member of the Sons Of The Pioneers. His father played fiddle and his mother guitar at local venues and at the…
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Artist Biography

b. Thomas Hubert Farr, 6 December 1903, Llano, Texas, USA, d. 17 March 1980. An important member of the Sons Of The Pioneers. His father played fiddle and his mother guitar at local venues and at the age of seven, Hugh was playing guitar with his father at such events. At nine, he was so proficient on his father’s fiddle that his father took to playing guitar only. In 1925, after several moves, the Farr family relocated to Encino, California. He first worked in the construction industry but eventually became a full-time musician. Between 1929 and 1933, he and brother Karl played with Len Nash And His Country Boys on local venues and on KFOX Long Beach, where the two also acted as station staff musicians. During the time with Nash, Hugh also played on several Brunswick Records recordings. In 1933, the two brothers and Ira McCullough performed as the Haywire Trio and also played with Jack LeFevre And His Texas Outlaws. Soon afterwards, he became a fourth member of the Pioneer Trio (joining Leonard Slye (Roy Rogers), Bob Nolan and Tim Spencer) who, before long, became the Sons Of The Pioneers. His brilliant fiddle playing and deep bass vocals became an integral part of the group’s sound.

He stayed with the group until late in 1958, when he quit following differences of opinion. He formed his own Sons Of The Pioneers, an action that immediately led to controversy and he quickly disbanded the group. He played with Jimmy Wakely’s band before, in the early 60s, he again attempted to use the old name until legally instructed to stop following objections by Rogers, Nolan and Spencer. He briefly formed a group he called the Country Gentlemen but after recording Songs Of The Pioneers, the group folded. Farr’s fiddle playing could receive no greater praise than that afforded by noted conductor Leopold Stokowski. Asked by radio reporter and news columnist Walter Winchell to name the individual whom Stokowski believed to be the greatest natural violinist of the century, the conductor replied: ‘It is two musicians, the left hand of Fritz Kreisler and the right hand of that gentleman who plays the violin with the Sons Of The Pioneers, I don’t recall his name.’ Hugh Farr died in March 1980 but his playing may be heard on countless recordings of the Pioneers.