photo by Chris Hirsch

Chris Hirsch has been a member of The Lonestar Bluegrass Band since 1982.  He joined three Houston bluegrass players, Paul Brummer, Larry Brocket, and Don Eggers, and soon called the group Lonestar, which eventually evolved into The Lonestar Bluegrass Band.  Chris was born in Houston, Texas in 1953 and lived there until moving to Austin, Texas to attend college at St. Edwards University and the University of Texas. While at St. Edwards, in his first semester, his mother bought him his first banjo as a reward for good grades.  He began playing the banjo 10 - 12 hours a day and that was the last of the good grades in school!   In a matter of months, he joined his first band and was playing his first paying gigs. In a few years he co-formed the band, The Rocky River Boys and was very active in the Austin and Houston, Texas music scene. In the mid seventies, Chris went 'on the road' with a spin-off group of The Rocky River Boys, The Broken String Band.   This group played six to seven nights a week, throughout the south, for about three years. During this time, Chris released a solo album on the Hill Country label called, Crazy Creek.  After which, he settled in his home town of Houston, Texas.   He soon joined Heritage with former 'Bluegrass Boy', Jim Moratto, Doug Henderson, and, former Lonestar Bluegrass Band member, James Hicks.  After becoming a member of The Lonestar Bluegrass Band, Chris also joined the popular Houston group, The Harry Fish String Band. Chris also was member of veteran country performer, Leon "Pappy" Self's band, The Blueridge Playboys.  He has also performed, on stage, with numerous groups and musicians such as; Peter Rowan, Joe Stuart, Josh Graves & Kenny Baker, Trout Fishing in America, The Houston Symphony Orchestra, Rooster Junction, Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike, and many others. In 1991, Chris released his second solo album, Pecos Wind, in partnership with his former wife and band member, Ann Ziegler.  This CD introduced six new songs written by Chris, including the title cut.  He also has appeared on numerous recordings of different styles of music from bluegrass to an album of harp and banjo duets.  Chris has won many banjo competitions including first place in the Southwest National Banjo Championship, in Kerrville Texas, in 1988. He won the Texas State Banjo Championship three times.  Chris also plays guitar and mandolin with the group and he even 'attempts' to play the fiddle now and then.

Chris is a fulltime craftsman specializing in the restoration of antique firearms.  In 2008, after completed many years of research, his book on The Texas Gun Trade, 1780 - 1899 was published.  He also deals in, and collects, vintage musical instruments.  His main banjo is a 1932 Gibson Mastertone, TB-3 (tenor banjo) converted to five string. Chris also owns a very rare, original five string, 1938 Gibson RB-11 that he plays on occasions.   Also, Chris hosts Houston's bluegrass radio program, THE BLUEGRASS ZONE, every Sunday from 4 - 6PM on KPFT, 90.1 FM.

Chris' interests lie in his family and friends, Texas history, antique firearms, various styles of music, collecting 'old stuff', his blue heeler (dog) Doc, Texas Hold'em poker, wildlife photography, and new adventures.  He continues to promote bluegrass music in and around Houston and plans to be around, pickin' the banjo, for many years to come.

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Chris with the man, Bill Monroe.

"Get your kicks on Route 66"

In December 7, 1981, Chris delivered a flintlock rifle (which he built) to President Reagan in The Oval Office.  In March of 1982, he appeared on the cover of the American Rifleman magazine.

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