Heartbreak led Henry Newton "Tommy" Vaden to put his fiddle away on Dec. 20, 1999.
That's the day his longtime friend, boss and musical crony Hank Snow —
whose sound he is credited with helping to create — died. He was 79.
"He hadn't played since Hank Snow died," remembered his daughter-in-law,
Mary Jane Vaden yesterday. "He never wanted to play again. His last time
on the Opry was with Hank. He just didn't have the heart after he died."
A longtime member of Snow's band, Mr. Vaden died Monday at Beverly Health
Care in Springfield after a long battle with prostate cancer.
Born June 15, 1925, in Nashville, a son of Elijah Wilburn Vaden and Esmer
Jane Vaden, Mr. Vaden began performing on the Grand Ole Opry as a teen.
Radio and Grand Ole Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs said Mr. Vaden's public
performances began much earlier.
Stubbs said Mr. Vaden's contributions to country music were significant.
And his contributions to the Hank Snow sound even more important.
"He was the guy who helped set the instrumental sound for Hank Snow.
He was a wonderful fiddler, and he played on I'm Movin' On, Golden Rocket
and many other hits," Stubbs said, noting that Snow himself had credited
Mr. Vaden and steel player Joe Talbot for helping create that legendary
sound. Stubbs said another notable recording by Mr. Vaden was
Faron Young's If You Ain't Lovin', You Ain't Livin'."
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