Charles Wilburn Trent, 17 February 1938, Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA. A multi-talented instrumentalist, he played steel guitar by the time he was seven and was playing on local radio at 10. In 1955, playing banjo, he became a regular on television in Asheville, North Carolina, followed by venues in California and Texas, before joining Bill Carlisle on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. In 1962, after joining Porter Wagoner, he began to play an electric banjo, which he invented and which was built for him by steel guitarist Shot Jackson. The instrument was constructed in a similar manner to a steel guitar and had a movable bridge that altered its pitch. He stayed with Wagoners band until 1973, when he joined Roy Clark, with whom he developed his own act, while working as the opener on Clarks shows. He also appeared in his own right on Hee Haw. In 1975 and 1976, he was voted Instrumentalist Of The Year and he and Clark were voted Instrumental Group Of The Year in the CMAs annual awards. He remained with Clarks show until 1980, when he began to operate mainly as a solo artist. He has made numerous solo overseas tours, as well as touring with Clark and Wagoner. In 1962, he made his first recordings for Smash Records, with two albums being released as Charles Trent. Over the years, he has recorded for several other labels, including recording with both Wagoner and Clark. In 1984, he released a live album on his own label. He became a regular performer at Nashvilles, Music City USA, before relocating to Branson, Missouri. In 1992, an increasing medical problem saw him hospitalized for a triple heart bypass operation. Trent, affectionately known as Mr Banjo, also played mandolin, dobro, bass and guitar, and was an amazingly versatile country music instrumentalist.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.