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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Wilburn Brothers tribute slated

Thursday, May 21, 2009

This weekend, Hardy will celebrate the lives of the Wilburn Brothers, country music singers from the Hardy area who were members of the world famous Grand Ole Opry. The celebration will be held Saturday, May 23 at Loberg Park in Hardy with fun, food and entertainment.

The lives of the family is very interesting in the fact that they exemplify both dedication to country music and were a testament to the fact that dreams do come true in a small town.

Teddy and Doyle Wilburn are the most famous of the Wilburn Brothers but at the onset of their musical careers on Christmas Eve in 1937, Teddy and Doyle were 7-and 6-year-old children. They were also accompanied by their older brothers Lester, then 13-years-old and Leslie who was 12 and their little sister Geraldine who was 10. The Wilburn children began singing on a corner in Thayer, Mo., for money during the depression and quickly gathered a fan base and $6.40 in the small town nearly 20 miles from their Hardy home.

Their dad, "Pop" Wilburn, was their manager and also bought the children's instruments for them from a "Sears and Roebuck" catalog. To say the family was "dirt floor" poor was anything but an understatement, as at one time they had to live in a chicken house on their property because their home burned down.

Their determination continued even through Teddy's battle with tuberculosis and eventual meeting with Roy Acuff who was ultimately responsible for the children beginning regular appearances at the Grand Ole Opry in 1940. Due to their ages, and child labor laws at the time, the Opry had to terminate their appearances.

The still determined children and Pop continued their performances on small radio stations as well as making personal appearances until their sister left the group and married.

The boys remained loyal to the group and played their music and made appearances on the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport until 1951 when the war in Korea took both Teddy and Doyle into the Army.

After their service, both brothers went to work with the Webb Pierce Show and then back to the stage of the revered Grand Ole Opry, this time of more than legal age. The brothers joined the Opry as official members in 1953. Webb then secured a recording contract for the brothers with Decca records that would last 22 years.

The Wilburn Brothers performed on television shows like "Arthur Godfrey" and "Dick Clark's American Bandstand" as well as hosting their own syndicated show for over 12 years. The brothers were responsible for the introduction of such famous faces as Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle and the Osborne Brothers. They even managed Lynn for 10 years as she toured with their road show. Doyle was responsible for getting Lynn signed with Decca which launched "The Coal Miner's Daughter's" famous career.

Some of their famous hits include: "I am so in Love with you," "Trouble's Back in Town," "It's Another World," "Roll Muddy River" and "Someone Before Me," among others. They also performed a chart topping duet "Hey, Mr. Bluebird" with Ernest Tubb.

The duo's career ended in 1982 with Doyle's death from cancer. In 2003, Teddy also died and was buried by his brother at the Nashville Memorial Cemetery.

This event will be the perfect time to honor the lives of these wonderful musicians.



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