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In response to many years of being asked, “Would you teach me to play banjo?” Boyd Hudgens has officially opened his school of music, “Stringbender Music.” The studio is located just east of Paris on FM 1508 and teaches students to play several instruments.
Hudgens also provides instruction for Pedal Steel Guitar, Lap Steel, Dobro, Bass Guitar and Rhythm Guitar. A native of Honey Grove, Hudgens was raised around a large family of musicians. His mother played piano and his father played the harmonica. His grandfather and uncle taught him to play the guitar in the 1960′s.
In the mid 70′s, Hudgens played guitar for the “One Way Choir” at FBC Honey Grove. Later, he and friend Gary Moreland from Honey Grove formed the progressive band, “Bois d’Arc Bottom” in 1976, performing at venues all around Northeast Texas, including live broadcasts on radio station KFYN in Bonham.
Boyd attended Bill Grant’s Bluegrass Festival at Salt Creek Park in Hugo Oklahoma religiously for many years, eventually winning the Five-String banjo championship in 1979. He had previously won First Place at East Texas State University’s first bluegrass festival in 1976.
During the early years of 1980, Hudgens studied the pedal steel guitar in Nashville under the tutelage of Jeff Newman and Buddy Emmons. Hudgens says that Newman was the greatest steel guitar instructor in the world, but his life was cut short in 2004 when he died in an ultralight airplane crash. Emmons, known as “The World’s Foremost Steel Guitarist”, is recognized for his work with many Country, Pop, and Jazz artist, including Ray Price, Johnny Bush, The Gatlins, Gene Watson and many more.
Boyd’s longest stint of playing music on the road was with Roxton native, Robert Joe Vandygriff and his band “Shades of County”. Boyd played steel guitar for Vandygriff’s band as they opened for the likes of Merle Haggard, Conway Twitty, The Judds, Steve Wariner, Dan Seals, Helen Cornelius, Eddie Rabbit and many more.
Currently, Boyd performs with Wade White, and also The Bolton Family of Paris. He has also performed with Lou Ann Petty of Greenville (portraying Patsy Cline) and plays regularly at the Lake Bonham Hoedown. His banjo, steel and dobo work can be heard on recordings by Vandygriff, Landon Teague, Kari & Jerry Shurtleff, LA Petty, Michael Grigsby, Post Oak Savannah, Seven Summers Old, The Yoder Family, and The Red Horse Band.
Since retiring from his job of 37 years at L-3 Communication in Greenville, Hudgens is in full swing with Stringbender Music. His studio is fully equiped with instruments, sound equipment, instructional material and all accessories needed to “Learn to Play!” Hudgens offers a free introduction to any of the instruments that he teaches, and says, “You can learn to play without reading music!”
For more information about Stringbender Music, call 903-784-7436 or visit StringbenderMusic.com