By Tara Mathews
HOWARD LAKE, MN Howard Lake native, Bruce Hoffman will be playing the fiddle with Mel Tillis and the Statesiders at the 2014 Winstock Country Music Festival, which will take place Friday, June 13 through Saturday, June 14.
Hoffman will be performing with Mel Tillis and the Statesiders Saturday, June 14.
He has been playing with the band for more than three years.
Hoffman began playing the fiddle when he was just 4 years old. His father, Edward, was his only teacher, other than himself.
At age 14, Hoffman began playing for Arnie Wannebo and the Wagon Wheelers.
He played for other bands during his time in Minnesota, including Fox River Band and High Noon.
In 1994, Hoffman moved to Branson, MO, where he currently lives with his wife of 24 years, Donna-Fay.
Hoffman has two sons, Ryan, 23; and Keith, 19, who own a landscaping company.
He occasionally landscapes with his sons, between tours with bands.
In Branson, he began playing for more well-known bands, such as Buck Trent, Johnnie Lee, Mo Bandy, and Pam Tillis, he said.
“I have been fortunate to work for great artists,” Hoffman commented.
He made two appearances on Ed McMahon’s Star Search, as well.
Mel Tillis and the Statesiders is a nine-piece, country western band.
“Mel is an icon in the industry, I truly look up to him,” Hoffman said.
The band has played the Grand Ole Opry numerous times, according to Hoffman.
“I always dreamt of performing at the Grand Ole Opry,” Hoffman noted, “and now I have, dozens of times.”
Hoffman has met artists such as Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, and Dolly Parton while performing at the Grand Ole Opry, and expressed his excitement for those moments.
“It’s all really overwhelming,” Hoffman said. “I enjoy being a part of one of the highest-regarded groups in country music history.”