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Willie Honeycutt
Born:  June 14, 1966
Died:  January 10, 2013

About The Artist

Another letter spoke to Roy's son playing with the Kristi Lyndell band, but told of the experiences he had when the band would come back to Modesto and Turlock.

"My name is Randy U. I guess you would call me a 'default' band leader (bass player) for the Kristi Lyndell band when we first discovered Willie Honeycutt in the early 1980s. I was around 30 years old back then. We had just returned from a USO tour and were in need of a steel player. They were not all that plentiful here in Central California. Someone told us that there was a 'kid' playing with his Dad at the Moose Lodge. There was Roy Honeycutt with some other old timers setup up right next to Willie. We were what I guess you would call a country cover band with swing tendencies. Needless to say, I was blown away by both of them.

After surprisngly little resistance (Willie's mom knew me.), we persuaded them to allow Willie to come along with a caveat—I signed papers to be his Legal Guardian. Wille was fast approaching the ripe old age of sixteen.

In a matter of days, we were off to Bozeman, Montana with Willie piled into the van. I don't think we even rehearsed. He fit right in musically as well as personality. The band pretty much instantly loved him. He brought a new dynamic to our sound with that single neck, BFlat6 tuning and Western Swing flair.

After all, that's what he learned from Roy ("Pops" as we affectionately called him.

We would typically be on the road for six to twelve weeks, playing six nights a week at clubs and casinos all over the Northwest. When we came home to Modesto/Turlock for some rest, we would play weekends locally.

There is one special night that has remained special throughout my life. On one of those weekends, we persuaded Roy Honeycutt to join us. Once again, we had "Pops" and Willie setup side by side. Steel Guitar paradise was in motion!

Roy's taste is soothing to the soul. Willie, of course, shared his abilities and taste."

God Bless Willie and Roy Honeycutt

— Randy U.

Over time, Kathy has collected letters and correspondence from others who spoke to their encounters and experiences with Roy and Willie.

"Hello Kathy, I did have the privilege to get to play music with both your father and your brother Willie, separately and together. Willie was an exceptional talent, a young gunslinger, a hot picker, who would play some sizzling hot licks, fast, jazzy and flashy...and it was awesome!

Leroy would play one note...and make you cry.

It was during the 1980's and early 1990's that I had the privilege to play with Leroy. I don't know his age at that time, but one could hear a refinement in Leroy's playing. Like fine wine, perfectly aged. He had a tone and a style that could only come from years of playing and an exceptionally high dose of God given talent. I always felt elevated when playing Leroy. He was way out of my league and I knew I was rubbing shoulders with a GREAT player. I would abate my insecurity and jump at the opportunity to play with Leroy because I knew I would not have many opportunities to play with someone of his caliber. On Sundays, Leroy would play at the Moose Lodge in Modesto, California. I could not wait for those Sundays to roll around. I would go there knowing I would be able to sit with the great Leroy Honeycutt.

There was a time when I got to play with Willie and Leroy together, and that was always beyond special. It was something to see, those two musicians, with talent to spare, sharing the stage. We would play “Steel Guitar Rag” and those two would be “cutting heads” (trading licks) and I was just in awe. I am 60 years old, have played music my whole life, and have never played with better musicians before or since. Those gigs are the highlight of my life."

Note: The Moose Lodge in Modesto is located at 821 Fifth Street near downtown Modesto.

— Tim N.

Kathy wrote and told of one her favorite memories that included her dad and Willie. She stated that a gig that was really cool was when Roy was asked to play at a 4th of July Party at Michael Nesmiths (of the Monkees ) house. Her dad, mom, Willie and she all went to this party. It was in Monterey, or Carmel, California. She remembers they pulled up to the iron gates and the security folks asked their name. She said she and Willie said at the same time, "We're the band!" (You see, this was right after the Blues Brothers movie had came out and they used that line in the movie.) But, the gates opened and she remembers they thought that was so funny and great at the same time.

Mike took Will an I to his video room and we pretty much stayed in there the rest of the evening. It was wall to wall videos; it was crazy. But it was a good time. She doesn't remember what year that was.

Credits & Sources

  • Hillbilly-Music.comn wishes to thank Kathy Honeycutt-Poland for providing biographical information and pictures from her dad's (Roy) and her brother's (Willie) career. This also led to discovering more about the country and western scene in the central valley area of California during the late 1940s.

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