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Slim Bryant
Country Music 
Legend and Local TV Pioneer
Dec. 7, 1908 ~ 
May 28, 2010 

Slim Bryant

Slim Bryant was a country guitarist and songwriter with a performance career stretching back over 75 years. He was known by many Pittsburghers for having performed on the first television program to air in this city, a musical variety show broadcast live on WDTV (later to become KDKA TV) from the Syria Mosque in Oakland in 1949. 

Thomas Hoyt "Slim" Bryant was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on December 7, 1908. His father was an electrician who played old-time fiddle, and his mother was an amateur poet who sang, played guitar and piano. Slim's music career took off in 1931 when he joined up with Clayton McMichen and the band that would soon become The Georgia Wildcats. Bryant and his band came to Pittsburgh's KDKA radio in August, 1940 and played on "The Farm Show'' every morning until 1959. The group harmonized, sometimes crooned and could play styles from ballads to polkas to novelties. "We played, gave news and market reports for the farmers,'' he explained. It was a time when the radio and record industry were young, and automobiles were making it possible for itinerant musicians to tour like never before. They were part of the first generation of country music "professionals" who could earn a living in the recording and performing business.

Bryant was also best known for his recording days with the legendary country singer Jimmie Rodgers, who died in 1933. Rodgers recorded Bryant's song "Mother, the Queen of My Heart," on Oct. 21, 1932 with Bryant accompanying him on guitar. The song has since been done by singers ranging from George Gobel to Merle Haggard. In addition to the Georgia Wildcats and Jimmie Rodgers, Bryant has performed with The Skillet Lickers, Gene Autry, Eddy Arnold, Tex Ritter, Les Paul, Joe Negri, Burl Ives, Rosemary Clooney and Snooky Lanson, many of them he still counts as friends.

Slim Bryant and his WildcatsSlim Bryant has written about 200 songs, including country western standards, as well as jingles for ad agencies. With his Wildcats he recorded hundreds of songs for a variety of labels, more than 180 of them at NBC in New York. A CD recording featuring Slim's music was released in the Spring of  2007. The CD contains 31 songs that were recorded more than a half-century ago. Slim wrote music and or words for a number of them, among the tunes are these titles: "Thunderstorm" "Penny Ante Polka" and "My Saddle, My Bronco and You.''

When the music business slowed in the early 1960's Slim and his wife Mary Jane opened a card shop and a basement studio on Potomac Avenue in Dormont. Mrs. Bryant died of a neurological disease in 1987. 

On his 100th birthday, Slim was honored at an open celebration at his church, Dormont Presbyterian.


Follow these links for more about the life of Hoyt "Slim" Bryant:

WQED Multimedia TV OnQ

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 19, 2007 
Vintage country recordings released on CD

Pittsburgh Post Gazette, May 10, 2007
Slim Bryant, 98, returning to country music with CD

Pittsburgh Magazine December 2006
Our Own Country Music Legend Turns 98 This Month

Pittsburgh Post Gazette, August 11, 2002
A Life in tune The real Slim's heyday
(This site has some audio clips of Slim's songs, and interview)

The Old Time Herald Vol. 8, No. 5 
The Varied Musical Career of Slim Bryantó93 Years Young

Thomas Hoyt Slim Bryant - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Clayton McMichen and his Georgia Wildcats on their first visit to KDKA in 1931.
From left: Pat Berryman, Clayton McMichen, Johnny Barfield and Slim Bryant.