Pete “Brother Oswald” Kirby

 Better known as Bashful Brother Oswald, Pete Kirby popularized the use of the resonator guitar and Dobro. He played with Roy Acuff’s Smoky Mountain Boys and was a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Though he released only a few recordings as a solo artist, he played as a session musician on numerous records, including the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s 1972 album “Will the Circle be Unbroken.”

As a child, Kirby learned to play guitar and banjo and sang Gospel Music. By his teens, he was playing for square dances.In a bid to find more steady work, Kirby moved to Knoxville, Tennessee in 1934. Taking the stage name Pete Kirby, he played resonator guitar with local bands, among them Roy Acuff’s Crazy Tennesseans, later to become the Smoky Mountain Boys. Acuff joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1938, and Kirby joined the Opry with Acuff’s band on New Year’s Day 1939.

It was with the Acuff band that Kirby became introduced as Bashful Brother Oswald, with Kirby posing as the brother of the band’s banjoist, Rachel Veach,  so that it would appear to audiences that the unmarried Veach was being chaperoned by a family member. To fit his new persona, Kirby created the clownish Oswald character, wearing a floppy, wide-brimmed hat, tattered bib overalls, oversized work shoes and adopting a braying laugh.

Featured on the nationwide broadcasts of the Opry, Oswald created a sensation playing his resonator guitar on such songs as “Old Age Pension Check”. The instrument, developed in the late 1920s, was still relatively new. Oswald and the Acuff band were featured in a Hollywood film, Grand Ole Opry for Republic Pictures, which gave the instrument even greater exposure.


In addition to his guitar and banjo playing, Oswald was a vocalist, and his tenor voice can be heard on Acuff’s hit songs, “Precious Jewel” and “Wreck on the Highway”.

Bluegrass: Grassroots to Bluegrass
Country’s Family Reunion Grassroots to Bluegrass
Country’s Family Reunion One
Country’s Family Reunion Two
Country’s Family Reunion One Episode 1
Country’s Family Reunion Two Episode 1
Country’s Family Reunion One Episode 2
Country’s Family Reunion Two Episode 2
Country’s Family Reunion Two Episode 3
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

    Create Your Account

    Watch thousands of hours of family-friendly, country life style entertainment - anywhere, anytime.

    Select Your Plan

    Choose the plan that's right for you.