LifeNotes: Musician Bucky Doster Dies

bucky doster111Veteran Nashville musician Bucky Doster has died at age 91.

Doster was a left-handed trombonist who toured with Glen Campbell and recorded with stars ranging from Johnny Cash to Brenda Lee. He grew up in Murfreesboro and played in dance bands during his high-school years, as well as a college student at MTSU. He joined the AFM’s Nashville local at age 19 in 1942. Following the onset of World War II, he was inducted into the Army in 1943.

While in the service, he became first trombone with the 97th Infantry Division Band. He settled in Nashville following his discharge in 1946. He played with the Owen Bradley Orchestra and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.

Bradley began using Doster as a session musician in the 1950s. He played on several of Brenda Lee’s rock ‘n’ roll records as well as on her debut LP, 1959’s Grandma What Great Songs You Sang. In addition to studio work with many other Nashville artists, Doster became a road musician for Glen Campbell. In 1969-71 he was a member of The Bill Walker Orchestra on The Johnny Cash Show on ABC-TV.

In Nashville, Doster completed his college education at Peabody College. He became a band director in the schools of Huntsville, Ala. He served in the same capacity at Isaac Litton High School, as well as at East Junior High School in Nashville. In his final years as an educator, he became brass musical consultant for the Metro Nashville Public School System.

In retirement, Bucky Doster played with The Establishment, a big-band dance orchestra that donated its proceeds to the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University.

Born James J. Doster, he died on Tuesday, May 19, after a brief illness. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Bettye Doster, by children Dana (Tom) Luton and Jan (Jeff) Bennett, by four grandchildren and a twin sister, Justine D. Stutts.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday at Hendersonville Memory Gardens and Funeral Home, with a reception for friends and family beginning at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in his honor to the Doster Family Scholarship at Lipscomb University.


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Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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