Bryant Houston was born April 6, 1911 about two and one-half miles southeast of Cisco, Texas on the Leon River. He was the oldest of two children born to Annie Helen and Captain Poe Houston.
Starting at the age of 14, and being blessed with an excellent teacher, his father, Bryant remembers that along about 1925 the whole family took to the road playing at theaters and school houses in West Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas. They would put on a musical concert with an amateur contest and end the performance with a fiddle contest. His Dad would award a fiddle to the winner, who was sometimes judged by the audience. This was quite a prize because most winners were usually awarded ribbons. The family would head-quarter in a small town and play all the theaters within a 100-mile radius.
Shortly after this, the family headed west to Long Beach, California, where they established themselves in the Silver Spray Twin Ballroom doing mostly floor shows. After a few sessions on the West Coast, they moved back to Texas doing road shows on their return.
In 1931 or 1932, Bryant decided he would learn to read music. Being very impressed by his idol, Fritz Kreisler, but lessons were five dollars a session and Money was hard to come by, he turned to the more popular musicians like Curley Fox, Lum Sellors and 'Big Howdy Forrester', and later played a concertwith Georgia Slim at the Arcadia Theater in Dallas, Texas.
Bryant feels that part of being an accomplished musician is having a good instrument when possible--preferably an old Italian one with those big, round full tones.
In 1973 he was invited by 'Big Howdy Forrester' to play in the Grand Masters Championship Contest at Nashville, Tennessee, but Bryant was much too busy playing the Good Texas Contests--trying to beat the Morris Boys, the Franklins, Wade Stockton, Bill Gilbert, Straley AIlsup and Carl Hazelwood. Having known Bryant for several years, many people have always thought his Limerock, Kelly Waltz and Grey Eagle were hard to beat.
Mr. Kendrick also relates that when they were both 14 years old, he lost the first fiddle contest he ever played in, to Mr. Houston. After more than sixty years of playing in innumerable contests, the World will long remember Bryant Houston's contribution to Texas Fiddle music.
To his friends, Bryant Houston is at home at this time in the De Leon Nursing Horn. in De Leon, Texas. (Courtesy of Mr. Bob Kendrick, San Angelo, Texas)