Archive for Country Musicians

Earl Scruggs

Posted in Spring Hill Cemetery with tags , , , , on September 27, 2021 by Cade

January 6, 1924 – March 28, 2012

There are banjo players…and then there’s THE banjo player.

Earl Eugene Scruggs not only reinvented how the instrument was used, but he opened the door for an entire new genre of music. As a young man, Earl joined the fabled Blue Grass Boys (led by the legendary Bill Monroe) where his patented 3-finger picking style helped shape and define the band’s sound. “Bluegrass” would eventually become an entire sub-genre in Country music and many of the sounds that came from the Blue Grass Boys became archetypes for the style. Maybe none more so than Scruggs’ fast-paced, solo banjo picking. Continue reading

Hank Snow

Posted in Spring Hill Cemetery with tags , , on September 13, 2021 by Cade

May 9, 1914 – December 20, 1999

Clarence Eugene “Hank” Snow grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada idolizing Country & Western legend, Jimmie Rodgers. Snow’s humble beginnings were marred with poverty, foster situations and abuse. But, the times he did get to live with his mother were relatively happy…and full of music. His mother was a talented singer and organ player and young Clarence soon began playing guitar and singing himself.

But, in Nova Scotia in the 1920s, music didn’t put food on the table, so Hank took various jobs – ranging from dock work to working on a fishing boat – to help make ends meet. All the while, he continued to stoke his passion for music. He eventually landed an audition at a local radio station which led to paying gigs and – eventually – a recording contract. He moved to Nashville in 1949. Continue reading

Roy Acuff

Posted in Spring Hill Cemetery with tags , , , on August 30, 2021 by Cade

September 15, 1903 – November 23, 1992

“He’s the biggest singer this music ever knew. You booked him and you didn’t worry about crowds. For drawing power in the South, it was Roy Acuff, then God.” – Hank Williams

As a young man in Tennessee, Roy Claxton Acuff wanted to be a baseball player. When that didn’t work out for him, he found solace in some country-western records his dad gave him. With his mind successfully off of baseball, he decided he wanted to be an entertainer and so he set out to become one. Continue reading

Jimmy Martin

Posted in Spring Hill Cemetery with tags , , , on August 2, 2021 by Cade

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.

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Keith Whitley

Posted in Spring Hill Cemetery with tags , , , on July 12, 2021 by Cade

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July 1, 1954 – May 9, 1989

Jackie Keith Whitley was a bright star in 1980s Country Music. He quickly gained attention as a bluegrass singer and guitar player and moved to Nashville from his native Kentucky in 1983 to start a recording career. His first three album releases charted a dozen hits, culminating in three straight number 1 hits off of his 1988 album, Don’t Close Your Eyes. Continue reading

Chet Atkins

Posted in Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens with tags , , , on February 15, 2021 by Cade

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June 20, 1924 – June 30, 2001

Iconic guitarist, instrumentalist and producer, Chester “Chet” Atkins rarely basked in the limelight during his 50+ year career. He was more than happy to play on a friend’s record, or churn out hit after hit from the helm of the now-legendary RCA Victor studio in Nashville, Tennessee. That is not to say he wasn’t gifted in his own right. You don’t win 14 Grammys, 9 CMA awards or earn the nickname “Mr. Guitar” by being a slouch. But his biggest contribution to the music industry was undoubtedly his time spent cultivating the “Nashville Sound” that allowed Country music to successfully cross over to Pop audiences throughout the 1950s and ’60s.

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Jimmie Rodgers

Posted in Oak Grove Baptist Cemetery with tags , on January 18, 2021 by Cade

September 8, 1897 – May 26, 1933

“The Singing Brakeman”
“The Blue Yodeler”
“The Father of Country Music”

Jimmie Rodgers learned to play music at a very young age. His father, a railway foreman, tried to deter young Jimmie’s wont to become a traveling entertainer by getting him a job at the railyard. Jimmie spent his rail days learning to better play guitar from other workers and passing hobos…as one does. The urge to travel and play never left him and when tuberculosis ended his railroad career at the age of 27, it was all the confirmation Jimmie needed to take a real shot at being a musician.

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Glen Campbell

Posted in Campbell's Cemetery with tags , , , , , on November 23, 2020 by Cade

April 22, 1936 – August 8, 2017

Glen Campbell was not the first “Rhinestone Cowboy,” but he’s arguably the most famous. At least, that’s what you might suspect judging him solely by his biggest hit.

Despite personally resonating with the titular character in the chart-topping 1975 song, Campbell was so much more than a sequined journeyman waiting for his turn in the spotlight.

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Minnie Pearl

Posted in Mt. Hope Cemetery (TN) with tags , , on November 16, 2020 by Cade

October 25, 1912 – March 4, 1996

All together now: “How-DEEE!”

The stage of the Grand Ole Opry is hallowed ground. Whether it was the historic stage of the famed Ryman Auditorium, or the newfangled stage at the modern Opry House, setting foot upon it can be life-changing for anyone with the fortune to do so. It transforms performers. None more literally than a young comedienne named Sarah Colley, who stepped onto the Opry stage and became…Minnie Pearl.

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Patsy Cline

Posted in Shenandoah Memorial Park with tags , , on November 2, 2020 by Cade

cline1September 8, 1932 – March 5, 1963

If country music has official royalty, Patsy Cline was its first queen.

Virginia Patterson Hensley knew she wanted to be a singer from the very beginning. Though she worked odd jobs in her Virginia hometown out of a need to help her family, it wasn’t long until she was aiming higher and soliciting auditions wherever and whenever she could. Following a brief illness at the age of 15 that affected her throat…and therefore her voice, Ginny realized quickly that she had been given a gift. Local radio shows and a stint with a regional country band followed and soon, her gift was being shared on television and larger radio markets.

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