Conversation with Bob Hempker

Hello fellow players,

It’s been awhile since I’ve highlighted the career of a hard-core, down in the trenches country steel guitar player. So today I’m here with Mr. Bob Hempker. Bob among many other accomplishments, spent 23 years with Loretta Lynn.

(Bobbe Seymour speaking)

So my first question is this. How long have we known each other?

(Bob Hempker’s answer)

It seems like I’ve always known you. It must have been around 1969 or so. That’s when I first moved to Nashville and it had to be around there somewhere. I used to see you at the Opry backstage a lot. You were always a good guy. I’ve always liked you and I guess I always will.

I remember the first time I met you was in Louisville. Loretta was doing a telethon benefit for some coal miners and their families who had been killed in a mine explosion near there. Everybody and his brother in the country music business was there to help out. That’s the kind of people that are in this business, always willing to help out where needed.

The telethon was also being broadcast on the radio and when you came in you came up to me and said that you’d been listening to the radio on the way there and you wanted to know if I was the steel player you’d been listening to.

I told you I was and you said you really liked what you heard. We’ve been friends ever since.

I remember when you opened you steel guitar store over in Goodlettsville next to the Dairy Queen. That turned into my home away from home when I was in off the road. I hung out there all the time. I ended up teaching out there for three or four years.

So you and I go back a long way. You had a line of Seymour brand amplifiers and I had two of them that I used on the road with Loretta for several years. I sold one of them to a guy up in Branson and I gave the other back to you. Those were really good amplifiers.

I remember we worked the first Farm Aid Concert in Carbondale, Illinois. Everybody who was anybody was on that show. I think this was in ’85. Johnny Paycheck was on the show and you were playing steel for him.

Paycheck and his bunch were partying and they didn’t want to go back to Nashville. They were going to spend the night and go back whenever. You wanted to get back to Nashville and asked me if I thought Loretta would mind if you rode back with us.

Mooney was standing close by so I took you over and introduced you to him and asked if he minded if you rode back with us. Mooney just grinned and said, “Well, get your a$$ on the bus.” Bobbe, you were always one to take care of business and I’ve never known you to be a party animal.

(Bobbe Seymour speaking)

Bob, tell us about Loretta.

(Bob Hempker speaking)

There’s not a lot to tell. Pretty much what you see if what you get. I think that’s been the key to her popularity and always has been. Loretta is Loretta. No pretense, nothing fake. Loretta is the real deal.

(Bobbe Seymour speaking)

Bob, it’s been my pleasure knowing you all these years. It’s knowing people like you that has enriched my life in more ways than I can say. Thank you.

Check out our monthly specials at and we’ll try to save you a lot of money.

Your buddy,
Bobbe Seymour

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