Country music fans around the world are mourning the loss of Buck Trent, a true legend in the genre, who passed away this morning. He was 85. Trent's name became synonymous with the twang of the banjo and the soulful strumming of the guitar. His star rose to new heights through his appearances on the iconic television show, Hee Haw, where his performances brought joy to millions, as well as The Porter Wagoner Show, The Marty Stuart Show, and more. His infectious energy, signature smile, and unparalleled musical talent endeared him to audiences far and wide.
Beyond his television fame, Buck Trent's musical journey was punctuated by collaborations with some of country music's most revered figures. He shared the stage with the likes of Roy Acuff, Porter Wagoner, Roy Clark, Marty Stuart, and the incomparable Dolly Parton, adding his distinctive banjo and guitar prowess to their timeless hits. He played on several big hits, including Parton's "I Will Always Love You" and "Jolene". Trent's contributions to their music and the genre as a whole will forever be etched in the annals of country music history.
As we remember Buck Trent today, we not only mourn the passing of a remarkable musician but also celebrate a life that brought immense joy through the power of music. His legacy will continue to inspire future generations of artists and country music enthusiasts, ensuring that his memory lives on in the heartfelt melodies of the genre he cherished. Buck Trent may have left this world, but his music will forever resonate in the hearts of those who loved and admired him.
“It is with great sorrow and a broken heart to say my husband, my love, Buck Trent, went to be with Jesus this morning. I lost my best friend, and the world lost a Master Musician and Country Music Legend. Oh Yeah!” - Jean Trent
Jim Halsey, who once operated the world's largest country agency out of Tulsa, said he was sad to hear about Trent's death and called Trent "one of my very favorite people in the world."
"I worked with him for years as a partner with the Roy Clark Show," Halsey said. "Buck Trent is one of the greatest banjo players ever. We will all miss him. Thank you, Buck Trent, for being in all our lives."
Trent's solo performances on "Hee Haw" were punctuated by him shouting his signature phrase, "Oh, yeah!" In addition to being part of the Hee Haw “Kornfield” crew, Trent was a regular on “The Porter Wagoner Show.” A "Kornfield Friends" reunion tour featuring "Hee Haw" alums was launched with Trent, Jana Jae, Lulu Roman and Misty Rowe in 2018.
“Buck was like a brother to me after all of these years. We’ve shared tons of laughs and some tears along the way, but we never left each other’s side. We had a bond like no other. I’ll miss the man, but cherish the memories from our 50+ year friendship. My heart breaks for his precious wife, Jean, his family, friends, and fans. There will never be another like Buck Trent. Oh Yea!” - Lulu Roman, Hee Haw
"Buck Trent was a great entertainer. He was innovative, funny, clever, and truly a super great musician. He always ‘got’ an audience — standing ovations were the norm. I loved doing 'Hee Haw' shows with him in Nashville and really treasured our live shows on the road. He was always a great guy to be around — a fun storyteller on and off stage — with good energy to share. We miss him! Oh, yeah!" - Jana Jae, Hee Haw
“Oh Yea! Buck Trent was my castmate for 19 years on Hee Haw. Funny, talented, and a loyal friend. I was blessed to perform with him at the end of his life when we toured in Kornfield Friends. My favorite moment was when he played Dueling Banjos and I tap-danced to the beat. Oh Yea! The best thing Buck ever gave me was a friendship with his wife Jean. We had so many laughs.” - Misty Rowe, Hee Haw
“We lost a dear long-time friend today in Buck Trent. Buck toured the Soviet Union with us and Roy Clark in 1976 and we have been close ever since. Buck was one of the greatest banjo players of all time and a very funny man. We will miss Buck!” - Joe Bonsall, The Oak Ridge Boys
“Buck Trent was one of my favorite people. He radiated love and good vibes. We all laughed with him on Hee Haw and he was a joy to all of his many fans and friends. I did a lot of shows with him and he always treated me wonderfully well and was a hoot backstage. He loved God and I know that he is now resting in the arms of Jesus. Goodbye, old soldier. We'll all miss you.” - T. Graham Brown
“George Jones thought the world of Buck Trent. You knew it was Buck’s playing from the first note and his style was undeniable. My prayers to his family and friends during this difficult time.” - Nancy Jones
“What a fun guy that we will miss so much. Loved his enthusiasm and flash, which most likely overshadowed his incredible innovations. His talent was endless and his signature guitar work on Dolly’s “Jolene” is probably his most famous work. We love you Buck! Oh Yeah!” - Rhonda Vincent
“Buck Trent was a one-of-a-kind instrumentalist. He was vital in the Nashville scene from The Porter Wagoner Show to Hee Haw! He was loved by everyone who knew him. My prayers to his family, friends, and fans during this difficult time. We love you, Buck!” - Johnny Lee
“I have special memories working with Buck Trent, and enjoyed watching his talent of entertaining - I’m so thankful for my time at HeeHaw.” - Janie Fricke
“When I heard the news this morning, it hit hard. I was just talking about him at The Grand Ole Opry the other night and was looking forward to our next visit. I never dreamed it wouldn’t happen. Tell your friends you love them, because you never know when they will be gone. He was a great man and I am praying for his family.” - Moe Bandy
"It always saddens me when we lose a great musician, but the Grand Ole Opry in the sky just got an amazing banjo player.” - Lacy J. Dalton
“My prayers to his wife, Jean, and his family. I would like to thank Buck for the years of memories and the special banjo lesson where he tried to teach me the intro of “Carroll County Accident.” He was truly one of a kind. We did shows together in Branson - and I always looked forward to our breakfasts of biscuits and banjo. He was such a fine man and friend.” - Dallas Wayne
“I met Buck Trent only once in 2018 when I was working in Branson. I was such a fan (I think the young kids would call it a “Fangirl“). He was so kind and gracious. He treated me like I was an old high school buddy even though it was only the first time we had ever met. We chatted about his work with Dolly Parton. For those of you who don’t know him…he was an amazing banjo player (look up “Hee Haw“), but he was also a great band leader. He even played that great Gut-string acoustic part on Dolly’s song “Jolene.” I wish I could say that we were great friends, but we were not. I only have that one meeting to talk about. But I can say this, he was a gentleman… A true gentleman! I feel that the world has lost not just a great musician/entertainer but… a great man! RIP, Buck Trent!” - Heath Wright, Ricochet
“I first got to meet Buck with my brother Lefty at one of The Porter Wagoner TV Shows. Later in my career I worked with Buck on a lot of shows including Hee Haw (with Frizzell & West) and was proud to be on one of his last albums. I have never been around anyone who would make you feel so good just by being around him. Oh Yeah!” - David Frizzell
“Some of my first memories of country music involve watching Buck Trent perform on the Porter Wagoner show. Buck was such an entertainer. I couldn't believe that years later I actually got to play with Buck when I played with the Hee Haw band. We were instant friends. I will never forget how honored I was when I was performing a show in Branson shortly after COVID-19. There was a knock on my dressing room door and it was Buck and Jean. It was the FIRST outing Buck made after a year of lockdown at his home. He said, “Son, you came to see my show over the years; the time has come for me to see yours." I was so honored. THAT is the Buck Trent I knew. Prayers to Jean and all of his family, friends, and fans, Oh yeah!” - Tim Atwood
“This morning I woke up to some heartbreaking news. To hear about the passing of Buck Trent hit me hard. Buck was an all-around amazing musician and a genuine man. Buck recorded the banjo on ‘40 Miles From Poplar Bluff’ on my independent solo album, ‘Headed Back To Bowling Green’ in 2018. He didn’t take a dime and treated my project as equally as important as anything he had ever recorded. He will truly be missed and never replaced.” - Mary Rachel Nalley-Norris, The Kody Norris Show
“Although I never met Buck, I grew up listening to Dolly Parton and he was instrumental in her sound. Thank you for your musical contribution and Godspeed, sir. You will be missed.” - Makenzie Phipps
“My deepest condolences to Buck Trent's family. I always enjoyed watching him on Hee-Haw. He will be deeply missed by many.” - Riley Gilbreath, Riley Gilbreath & Lone Star Blue