Curly Lewis — Fiddle Player
Julian “Curly” Lewis was an influential fiddle player and accomplished vocalist who, during a career that spanned nearly eighty years, played with some of the greatest western swing bands and recorded many albums.
Born near Stigler, Oklahoma, in 1924, Lewis later moved with his family to Tulsa. He started playing the fiddle at age nine. It was just two years later, in 1936 at age eleven, when he entered and won the Bob Wills Fiddle Contest. He was too young to join the band, but the contest did land him guest appearances on Wills’ radio broadcasts on Tulsa’s KVOO.
Several years later he actually joined Wills and his famed Texas Playboys for six months on a west coast tour, meaning Lewis could claim official Texas Playboys status. But for the most part he was identified with Bob Wills’s younger brother, Johnnie Lee Wills, and his band on KVOO and at Cain’s Dancing Academy in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Curly also played with Leon McAulliffe’s Cimarron Boys and Hank Thompson. His last performance was February, 2013, at his induction into the National Fiddler Hall of Fame in Tulsa.
Curly Lewis was 88 when he died on July 14, 2013.
Interview with Curly Lewis
Müllerhaus Legacy Website Team
Date Created: August 9, 2011
Date Published: April 8, 2016
Notes: Recorded by John Erling in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Digital Audio Sound Recording, Non-Music.