Jimmy Martin

August 10, 1927 – May 14, 2005

One of the most iconic voices in all of Bluegrass, Jimmy Martin was a singer and guitar player who, at the age of 22, snuck backstage at a Bill Monroe concert to audition for the legend’s vacant guitar player spot. Martin was hired on sight and used his high tenor voice to help create and perfect the “high lonesome” sound alongside Monroe’s vocals. The two singing together became one of the most recognizable sounds in Bluegrass music.

Martin’s guitar work took him the rest of the way. He eventually formed his own band, The Sunny Mountain Boys, and dazzled country audiences with his rhythmic guitar playing and trademark tight harmonies. His career soared throughout the 1960’s and ’70s. His sound and style influenced countless acts in the next generation of bluegrass and country music. So much so, that he is often referred to as “The King of Bluegrass.” Given that Bill Monroe already held the mantle of “The Father of Bluegrass,” who’s to argue?

Martin was famously unpredictable and moody. He was oftentimes wild and out of control on stage…and the audiences loved it. The Grand Ole Opry, on the other hand, didn’t. He was never invited to join the fabled fraternity due to his general behavior and the fact that he unabashedly loved drinking. But, Jimmy kept on going and worked well into his 70s before dying of bladder cancer in 2005. He was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 1995.

Burial

Spring Hill Cemetery – Nashville, TN

Specific Location

Enter the cemetery and turn right. Immediately on your right you will see Jimmy’s large marker.

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