Hoyt Herbert passes

Hoyt Herbert, 87 year old NC banjoist and former deejay of Sunday Evening Bluegrass on WFMX radio in Statesville, NC,  passed away on July 5. 

A veteran of the Korean War (USAF 1951-55), Herbert began picking banjo at age 14, citing the late Snuffy Jenkins as his inspiration. He toured with Charlie Monroe in the mid ’50s and recorded two projects with country star, Lefty Frizell, on Columbia Records in 1953.

His band of 14 years, the Lincoln County Partners, became well known to NC television audiences in the 1960s with weekly appearances (for eight years) on the Bill Hefner Show on a Charlotte station. Herbert picked the five string along with Ken Poovey on fiddle, JD Setzer on guitar, and Edd Wagoner on bass. The band recorded an album, It’s Just the Chance You’ve Waited For, in 1974.

Herbert then recorded another album with members in a spin-off group called the Strings of Five in 1980 on Star Records entitled Fret High. (Members: Hoyt Herbert-banjo, Ken Poovey-fiddle, Dewey Farmer-mandolin, Lester Deaton-guitar, Jimmy Miller-bass).

During the 1960s, Herbert was named North Carolina’s Championship Banjo Player for two years in a row. 

Known as the “Voice Of Bluegrass,” Herbert served as host of a 3 hour Sunday evening bluegrass show on Statesville’s WFMX 105.7 radio station for over 30 years, playing and promoting both professional and regional bands in the bluegrass genre. 

Funeral services will be conducted on Sunday, July 14, 2019, 3:00 p.m., at South River Baptist Church in Statesville where he was a member. The family will greet friends for one hour prior to the service at the church, and burial will follow with full military rites presented by the American Legion Post #113 of Harmony, in the church cemetery.

Condolences may be sent online to the family to www.nicholsonfunerals.com. Memorials may be given to Hospice & Palliative Care of Iredell County, 2347 Simonton Rd., Statesville, N.C. 28625. Nicholson Funeral Home is entrusted with the arrangements.

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About the Author

Sandy Hatley

Sandy Chrisco Hatley is a free lance writer for several NC newspapers and Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. As a teenager, she picked banjo with an all girl band called the Happy Hollow String Band. Today, she plays dobro with her husband's band, the Hatley Family.