Curly Lewis

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

Program Credits:
Curly Lewis — Interviewee
John Erling — Interviewer
Mel Myers — Announcer

Honest Media
Mel Myers — Audio Editor

Müllerhaus Legacy Website Team
Douglas Miller — Art Director
Mark DeMoss — Webmaster
Laura Hyde — Upload Coordinator

Date Created: August 9, 2011

Date Published: April 8, 2016

Notes: Recorded by John Erling in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Digital Audio Sound Recording, Non-Music.

Leon McCauliffe, Bob Wills, Johnnie Lee Wills, Ames Brothers, Hank Thompson, Leon McAuliffe, Bing Crosby, Sons of the Pioneers, Gene Autry, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Faded Love, Cains Ball Room, San Antonio Rose, Western Swing, Fiddle