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Roger Hoard

Accomplished musician passes on gift of music

By TAYLOR KUYKENDALL · tkuykendall@statejournal.com

WHEELING — Brad Paisley, one of West Virginia's most famous musicians, picked up several of his guitar chops from the Mountain State's own Roger Hoard. 

Paisley, one of the most well-known popular country acts playing today, reflected on a story about Hoard getting to meet another country legend, Don Rich, in his book, "Diary of a Player."

"One of my guitar teachers, Roger Hoard in Wheeling, West Virginia — who was the lead guitar player on the Jamboree — did get to meet Don once," Paisley wrote. "Roger told me about going to see Buck Owens and the Buckaroos when they came to West Virginia and played the Capitol Theatre. Roger was just a kid then, but he was already playing guitar. So Don Rich saw this boy waiting in the wings watching him and invited Roger to spend the day with him. He generously offered to listen to him play and gave him a few tips."

Rich was a member of the Buckaroos, the backing band of country singer Buck Owens. 

Hoard was born in Sutton, but was raised near Akron, Ohio. He started learning the guitar at 11 and as a child made appearances on the Southern Jamboree on radio station WSLR.

Hoard would share a microphone and stand on a chair with his brother, Don. The two boys would perform dressed as young cowboys. Two years later, he and his brother would play the WWVA Jamboree following a talent contest at Lemar Lake Park in 1968. 

WWVA, broadcast from Wheeling, was the first radio station in West Virginia. The show is the second- oldest country music broadcast in the United States, just behind the Grand Ole Opry. 

Hoard was a member of the staff band The Wheelers in 1971 and was bandleader of Country Roads before leaving the Jamboree in 1976. He also lived in Pittsburgh for a while, playing in the bands Penn Station, Jester and CrackerJack. He also did some work with television and radio jingles before moving to Los Angeles. 

While in L.A., Hoard worked with Jim Stafford, a prominent musician in the 1970s famous for his best-performing single "Spiders and Snakes." Hoard even made an appearance on "The Tonight Show."

He returned closer to home in 1980 and formed the Other Brothers Band in 1982 with his brother Don, Jamie Peck and Dennis Fitzpatrick. In 1983, they became the staff band for Jamboree USA, the renamed WWVA Jamboree.

"I attended many shows at the Jamboree as a kid," Paisley said in an article that appeared in the Journal of Country Music. "My grandpa was about to leave during the second-to-the-last song to beat traffic, but I wouldn't let him because John (Conleee) hadn't done ‘Rose Colored Glasses' yet — so we stayed. My grandpa later said that I was right and that was the best song of the night."

The show, which Hoard has long been a part of, is a staple of many country music fans. 

Hoard continues to give guitar lessons as a staff member of C.A. House Music, where he is co-manager of the company's combo department in St. Clairsville, Ohio.

Over the years, Hoard performed with Chet Atkins, Lenny Breau, Steve Wariner and his former student, Paisley. He cites those players as his influences, as well as Duane Allman, Lowell George, Phil Keaggy, Jim Hall and Pat Metheny. 

Music from two of his albums, "All in Good Time" and "Sounds of Christmas," are available at his website, www.rogerhoard.com.