Showcasing the Arts

December 2019 Featured Artist:
Joe Hudson


Joe Hudson
Joe Hudson has earned many musical honors over the years, including the National Thumbpicker Hall of Fame 2016 Thumbpicker of the Year.
Joe Hudson was born in Muhlenberg County, where he still resides today with his wife Stacey and daughter Shelby. He began playing guitar at 13, focusing on rock and southern rock. In 2007, Joe began to branch out and become a student of thumbpicking, a style of guitar playing that originated in Muhlenberg County. He sought instruction from well-known thumbpicker and all-around great guitarist Steve Rector. In 2008-2009, Steve taught Joe the techniques and culture of thumbpicking through a Kentucky Arts Council Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grant. For Joe, this opened up more possibilities on the guitar than ever before. Joe strives daily to improve as a guitar player, while focusing on being versatile in his style.

Joe has since played in numerous bands and shared stages with many well-known performers covering a wide range of styles. He has most recently performed with actor and singer John Schneider, playing at the Grand Ole Opry four times. The ability to back up an artist and play the songs as they were originally recorded is Joe’s strength, but he is right at home “shooting from the hip” if needed.

Awards to his credit include the 2009 Horizon Award Winner and the 2014 President’s Award. In a poll of fans and voting members of the National Thumbpickers Hall of Fame, he was selected as the 2015 Co-Thumbpicker of the Year and 2016 Thumbpicker of the Year.

Joe also works as a fill-in guitarist for artists, or as a solo performer for private events. He is currently executive director of the National Thumbpickers Hall of Fame and director of the Merle Travis Music Center.

Artist’s statement:

I really feel that I have just started to touch the surface of what the guitar has available to me. I appreciate everyone who has taken a part and an interest in my playing to help me be where I am today.


Joe Hudson
Greenville, Ky.

Phone: 270-977-0409


Page last updated: December 5, 2019
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