Spotlight: Bobby Koefer
Bobby Koefer Returns for Bob Wills Day
The Bob Wills Foundation would like to welcome back Bobby Koefer, he has been missed. We are excited to have him and his unique sound back with us. He will be performing throughout the weekend be sure to attend the Thursday night dance and the free outdoor concert on Satruday.
Bobby Koefer is America’s most unique steel guitarist. He plays a 1953 stand-up, Fender, triple neck steel guitar. Being self-taught has resulted in a very versatile singular sound and an unorthodox technique and use of an odd bar angle and thumb pick. To this day musicians still tell stories about Bobby’s antics and his preference for the sound of old, rusty strings. There was even a rumor that he had buried his steel-for several years-in his backyard in Alaska.
Bobby’s first recordings were on the Dallas based Bluebonnet label. While in Dallas he also worked with Western names, Bill and Jim Boyd and the Cowboy Ramblers. He then went to work for Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. There he worked for two years, not only with Bob Wills, but the great Eldon Shamblin. Bobby moved on to work with Pee Wee King. While working with Pee Wee, he worked such television shows as Milton Berle, Perry Como Grand Ole Opry and other popular television shows of that period. After Pee Wee King, Bobby worked with Billy Gray as band manager, arranger and steel guitarist(recording such classics as “Curtain Call”). Bobby left Billy Gray and formed his own band and spent five years at the Hi-Ho Club in Wichita, Kansas.
He has worked with such legends as Marty Robbins, George Morgan, Patti Page, Lefty Frizzell, Ferlin Huskey, Rex Allen, Tex Ritter and Jim Reeves, to name a few.
In the early 1960's Bobby moved to Alaska and worked in the construction industry, as well as doing some music jobs and extensive travel. He also indulged in his life-long interest in primitive cultures by immersing himself in isolated Eskimo societies during parts of five winters he spent on the island of Little Diomede in the Bering Strait.
In the 1980's Bobby returned to the Western Swing scene and The Texas Playboys.
It should also be noted that he has the distinction of having worked with two Hall of Famers’, Bob Wills and Pee Wee King, been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame(via Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys) and was inducted into the International Steel Guitar Hall of Fame. His unique style and sound remain unchanged.