b. Thomas Hoyt Bryant, 7 December 1908, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, d. 28 May 2010, Dormont, Pennsylvania, USA. Both of Bryant’s parents were musicians who sang, and with their encouragement, he soon began to play guitar. After completing his education, he worked in the electrical business and was a promising semi-professional baseball pitcher. In the late 20s, after guitar tuition from professional tutor Perry Bechtel, Bryant began to play local dances and shows with other musicians. A friendship with Clayton McMichen, a talented fiddle-playing member of the Skillet Lickers, led to the two playing on WSB Atlanta as the Georgia Wildcats. They later moved to WCKY Covington, where they worked with Riley Puckett as the Skillet Lickers. During the 30s, Bryant played on many stations and was featured on WRVA Richmond’s Old Dominion Barn Dance and the National Barn Dance on WLS Chicago. He also worked on the latter with Jack Dunigan as Slim & Jack. In the late 30s, after McMichen left to pursue a solo career, Slim Bryant And His Wildcats continued as a popular act on many stations. In 1940, with a reputation as one of America’s finest guitarists, he moved to KDKA Pittsburgh as a staff member. He remained there for 19 years appearing on radio, and later easily adapted to television, working with his band on KDKA-TV for 10 years.
Between 1929 and 1959, he made recordings on several labels. The first were for OKeh Records as a member of McMichen’s Harmony Boys and then for Columbia and Crown with McMichen’s Georgia Wildcats. Early in August 1932, he played on nine of Jimmie Rodgers’ RCA-Victor Records recordings and during the session, Rodgers recorded Bryant’s song ‘Mother, the Queen of My Heart.’ Rodgers was so impressed with Bryant’s playing that he asked him to play on four more recordings in New York, which included Rodgers’ very popular ‘Miss the Mississippi and You.’ Gene Autry recorded Bryant’s song ‘If You’ll Let Me Be Your Sweetheart’ in 1933. In 1937 and 1939, Bryant recorded for Decca, including ‘I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now’ and his own song ‘Yum Yum Blues’ (later recorded by Red Foley). During the late 40s, recording as Slim Bryant & His Wildcats, he recorded for Majestic and MGM Records and also made 289 NBC Thesaurus Transcriptions, which were on the US radio networks. After receiving many requests from aspiring guitarists, Bryant built a small studio in Pittsburgh and gave guitar lessons. Some other recorded examples of Bryant’s work appear on compilation albums of old-time bands. Slim Bryant died on 28 May 2010 in the Pittsburgh suburb of Dormont; he was 101 years old.