Buck Trent has one of the longest running morning shows in Branson, and is showing no signs of slowing down.
“I’m 75 years old now, and I feel great,” Trent said. “I love what I’m doing. I’ve been doing it since I was a little boy and the guys in the band are some of the finest folks around, they really are.”
When Trent first opened his own morning show in 1991, many of his fellow friends and performers said 10 a.m. is too early for a show.
“The people who come see my show, they done been up for a few hours and this is the peak of their day,” he said. “I catch them when they’re good and primed up.”
Trent broke into the music business at a young age, and by the time he was in his early 20s, he was performing with Porter Wagoner.
“So many of the people who come to see me at my show remember me from the old Porter Wagoner shows,” he said. “Now they’re replaying them on RFD-TV, and people tell me, ‘Hey, I just saw you the other night on Porter’s show.’ That always makes me laugh because that was 30 or 40 years ago.”
Even from his first forays into the music business, Trent made the decision to make sure money was never his driving force.
“I’ve never done this for the money,” he said. “I’ve never hit one note for the money. I worked for Porter Wagoner for 12 years and we always just split the money, because that isn’t what we were doing it for. I did 650 shows with Porter, and that is just amazing.”
While performing with Wagoner, Trent was able to play alongside Norma Jean Beasler, also known as “Pretty Miss Norma Jean,” Jeannie Seely and Dolly Parton.
“I was able to play on a bunch of their hit records, and even a few of Dolly’s bigger hits,” he said. “I played on ‘Coat of Many Colors,’ ‘Jolene’ and ‘I Will Always Love You.’ I get a nice little check every once in a while from that one.”
After the “Porter Wagoner Show” ended, Trent appeared on “Hee Haw,” alongside fellow banjo picker Roy Clark. Trent also appeared on “The Marty Stuart Show,” “Country’s Family Reunion,” “The Mike Douglas Show,” “The Tonight Show,” “Nashville On The Road,” “Dinah!” and “Nashville Now.”
After making the rounds, Trent realized if he wanted to make a go of it being a celebrity, he had to work on being a performer, not just a player.
“Roy Clark taught me I had to be an entertainer, not just a picker,” he said. “It was with Roy I learned to be a showman.”
Trent took many of the lessons he learned from Wagoner and Clark and instituted them into his everyday life. These lessons have been instrumental, no pun intended, in keeping his band together, he said. The majority of the players joining Trent each morning have been with him for more than a decade, several even longer.
“It is amazing that I’ve been able to hold onto these guys for so long,” he said. “Rob Blackwood was just a kid when he started with me 20 years ago.”
Although Wagoner passed away in 2007, he is still as much a part of Trent’s life as he ever was. He is mentioned several times throughout Trent’s show.
“He was 10 years older than me, and I learned a lot of good things about business and life,” he said. “We never had one cross word in 12 years and shook hands every night. He was one of the finest leaders I’ve ever met. I loved him.”
There are so many shows currently performing in Branson that have a variety of music that stretches across many genres. That isn’t the case with Trent’s show.
“It’s not like Ray Price, Marty Robbins and Conway Twitty out there anymore,” he said. “But there is still so much great music out there, and I think people can understand those old songs much better. As time goes along, things do change, but that doesn’t make those old songs any less great.”
In performing those old country classics and bluegrass standards, Trent is performing the music that he, his fellow performers on the stage and the guests all love.
“We just get up and have fun and if someone makes a mistake, hey, we keep right on going because it’s not like we’re cutting a record here,” he said. “If we have a good time, the people will have a good time. Heck, they’re just like our kin folks.”
When Trent isn’t performing at RFD-TV The Theatre, he can be found on any of the area’s golf courses.
“My golf game is pretty good,” he said. “I’m finally getting to play a little bit more now that the weather isn’t up and down. Golf is one of my most favorite things to do in this world.”
He uses his performing schedule and golf to keep himself active and in shape. Since Trent is now in his mid-70s, he has learned to take better care of himself.
“I had a stint put in about six months ago,” he said. “I’m fine now and feeling healthy. Hey pal, I’m ready for the olympics.”
According to Trent, he has no intention of stopping what he’s done his entire life.
“Playing music and performing has been my whole life,” he said. “And I just love my life. What’s better than getting up in the morning and doing a show then playing golf? People ask me all the time when I plan on retiring, and I tell them I’m already drawing social security. But seriously, I plan on doing this as long as I’m able.”