About Kenny Sears
Kenny Sears is a fiddler and vocalist with the Time Jumpers, a Nashville-based Western swing band. He also worked with some of the stars of country music, including Faron Young, Mel Tillis, Dottie West, and Jeannie Seely. A native Texan, he grew up on an Oklahoma spread that raised cattle and cotton. From the time he was four years old and first saw an uncle play the fiddle, he had a desire to develop that same ability himself. Three years later, with funds saved from a job picking cotton, he bought his own fiddle. He played classical violin for the Austin College Symphony when he was a fourth-grade student, a position that helped him earn a college scholarship when he was older. He attended North Texas State University as a music student and later joined the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
Long before he entered college on a music scholarship, Sears started working professionally. He was just 11 years old when he was invited to become a member of the Big "D" Jamboree's staff band. Artists from the Grand Ole Opry stopped in Dallas weekly, and Sears had the opportunity to play with them as part of the staff band. The Big "D" folded by the end of the '60s, and the young fiddler was invited to join a band led by Billy Gray, former bandleader for Hank Thompson. Sears moved on to a stint with Leon Rausch when Gray passed away early the following decade. Still with the symphony at this point, Sears sometimes went straight from playing a classical concert to playing swing at a Dallas nightspot called Duey Groom's Ballroom.
Sears settled in Nashville in the mid-'70s and worked with Young for about 12 months. He met Mel Tillis in 1977 and began a professional association that would last a total of a dozen years. His first stint with Tillis lasted six years, after which time he took a break in Galveston, TX. There, he worked with Ray Price before heading back to the road and Tillis. He returned as a bandleader, fiddler, sometime bus driver, and road manager. During these travels he made the acquaintance of the woman he would marry, Dawn. The couple wed in 1987 and have a daughter, Tess. Dawn Sears is also a member of the Time Jumpers. ~ Linda Seida, Rovi