Boyd Isler (in the overalls) with his band at a radio station they played in Overland Park, Florida, early 1960s
Photo courtesy of Boyd Isler's nephew, Steve Isler

Go to the Archives to hear Boyd Isler

Boyd Isler, Jr. was born in Cherokee County, SC. He and his siblings were all self taught country musicians who learned music from their parents. Boyd played on old time style of fiddling, and played in country and bluegrass bands in Florida and South Carolina. He played for a short while with Bill Monroe in the 1940s. I met Boyd in the early 1980s, and he told me stories about traveling and setting up the tents for the traveling opry shows. He said that he and DeFord Bailey did a lot of the set up of the tents before starting the shows.

I always visited with Boyd and played tunes with him when I would go to Spartanburg in the 1980s. We had many a fun jam session on his front porch and at the Red Barn Flea Market. Boyd was one of the most happy-go-lucky guys I've ever known. I took a friend with me to visit Boyd numerous times. After one visit, my friend told me that if he was told that he had only one week to live, he believed he'd spend it hanging out with Boyd Isler playing music on his front porch.

Boyd passed away in 1999 at the age of 75.

- Ashley Carder