FARISS, DOLORES (1912–1993). Dolores Fariss was the bandleader of Dolores and the Bluebonnet Boys, a well-known country western band in Texas during the 1940s and 1950s. She performed on piano and was joined by her husband Lee who played drums and sang.
Dolores, the daughter of Alfred and Judith Hanson, was born in Hutto, Texas, on April 18, 1912. She lived most of her life in the Govalle area of Austin, Texas, and graduated from Austin High School. While attending Nixon Clay Business School, she also played the piano in her father’s polka band. She met James Lee Fariss (born in Austin on December 9, 1907) in 1930 when she was playing in her father’s band. They were married on September 4, 1931, in First Baptist Church in San Marcos. They had two sons. Her husband Lee worked with his brother-in-law and father-in-law in their construction company.
Dolores organized her band in the 1940s, and she and Lee played one of their first shows in 1946 at the Elm Grove outside of Austin. Together they toured Central Texas, performed on radio, and became the house band for many years at the Skyline Club. Their bandmates, at various times, included Joe Castle, Aubrey Cox, Claude Hallmark, Sonny Raines, Jimmie Grabowski, and others. In addition to her skilled performances, she was a gifted composer. She wrote and released a number of recordings on the 4 Star, Lasso, and Macy’s labels. These songs included “Austin Waltz,” “My Bonnie Blue Eyes,” “The Fiesta Waltz,” “I Don’t Care,” and “A Broken Heart.” Dolores and Lee stopped playing professionally in 1955. She then worked as a dietician for the Del Valley School District until her retirement in the late 1970s. Dolores Fariss died on April 9, 1993. Her husband Lee died on July 9, 1998. Dolores Fariss was honored with induction into the Austin Music Memorial in 2011.
Tammy Fariss, Emails to Laurie E. Jasinski, November 12, 2009; December 16, 2009.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Clayton T. Shorkey, "Fariss, Dolores ," accessed August 24, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ffa38.
Uploaded on June 30, 2014. Modified on September 13, 2015. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.