In May 10 issue, Russell County News
By Greg Wells
Roy Wariner is known not just as the father of Russell County’s country music superstar. He is a respected member of his church, playing music there for years, and an appreciated teacher.
He has brought music into the lives of people he has known most of his life, and has taught hundreds of students here.
Sometime with a load of 45 to 50 students coming in to see him weekly it would seem to some that he was running a musician production line, but with each student he made the music personal.
Guitar and fiddle are his instruments and he taught his three boys.
He said with a chuckle that his daughter had no interest in music.
He has photos of his family around his home in Russell Springs, and plastered on the wall of the small building he always taught in are the photos of his other family, his students.
He’ll be 80 in August, and suffered a stroke last year, but as soon as he was able he went back to teaching music.
Roy teaches in a room added to his home now, so he doesn’t have to travel back and forth to the music shed in the country at his son’s house.
Of course one of his students is on the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Walk of Stars and plays regularly on the Grand Ole Opry, his son Steve.
There are others though, Kevin Williams who plays regularly on a gospel program aired on RFD-TV. Another, Chris Bennett, owns a music store in Columbia. Many of the musicians in the county well say Roy has been, if not a teacher, at least a cheer leader encouraging their playing.
Roy himself has been in the lime-light. “I played with the Martin Boys for a while down in Tennessee,” he recounts.
Starting to play at seven years old even his time in the Navy couldn’t stop the music.
“No, I didn’t play in the Navy band,” Roy chuckles. “I played in a band, while I was in the Navy.”
He said he played in a country band through the 60s and now, as groups form and dissolve, he has three, four or more of his decedents playing music professionally.
And there are still ten students he is working with.
“My dad had this same thing,” Roy said, referring to his stroke. “Back then they didn’t do the kind of therapy they did with me.”
He said after his stroke he would work through 6 hours a day of physical therapy. All of the work and pain has given him back his mobility, and the ability to play music again.
As soon as he could he asked his doctor if he could teach again, and with his okay for a very limited number of students Roy has returned to his love, spreading music through the hands of others.