Tommy Hays

Tommy Hays (born Thomas Avery Hays in Hartshorne, Oklahoma, in 1929) is a guitarist, band leader and vocalist; and is one of the last living members of the great musicians who created The Bakersfield Sound.[1]

He started playing the guitar in church when he was 10 years old. He performed on the Billy Mize TV Show, Cousin Herb Show, was a member of the house band for the Lucky Spot[2] and the Blackboard and had his own radio show on KMPC. Tommy played on stage with many of the old timers who were part of creating the Bakersfield Sound. Tommy was in the band that gave Buck Owens his first gig, with Dusty Rhodes, at a bar called the Roundup.[3]

Tommy has been playing in the honky-tonks in and around Bakersfield for over fifty years. Recognized as one of the original “Bakersfield Sound” pioneers,[4] he has helped forge this unique and definitive sound. Driven by the piano, steel and Telecaster guitar, the Bakersfield Sound was a reaction to the early ‘50s and ‘60s sweetening of country music epitomized by the Nashville Sound.

Along with the Western Swingsters which also included Big Bill Wilkerson, he released the CD 60 Years of Western Swing in 2006.

Tommy was inducted into the Western Swing Society Hall of Fame in 2010.[5]

He currently resides in Bakersfield, California, and still plays locally.[6]



  1. ^ Bakersfield Observed Remembering the old Blackboard bar
  2. ^ Johnny Barnett Obituary
  3. ^ Book excerpt page 209 Workin' Man Blues: Country Music in California By Gerald W. Haslam
  4. ^ History of the Bakersfield Sound
  5. ^ Western Swing Society Archived 2015-04-10 at the Wayback Machine Listing of Western Swing Society Hall of Fame Inductees
  6. ^ That Bakersfield Sound Archived 2014-12-18 at the Wayback Machine Bakersfield Sound article

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