Personalities | Ernest Stoneman | Early Years of Hillbilly | Country
(Vocals, harmonica, guitar, autoharp, 1893–1968)
Stoneman might be considered the first fully professional country artist. He saw the music’s potential and was involved in it from the 1920s to the 1960s, spanning music technology from the cylinder recording to the stereo LP. In the 1920s and 1930s, singing and playing harmonica, guitar and autoharp, he made almost 200 recordings – some solo, some in groups with his wife Hattie on fiddle. He embraced dance tunes, Victorian parlour songs, native American ballads, sacred music and novelties like ‘Possum Trot School Exhibition’, which combined old-time music and a spelling competition. After the Second World War, some of his sons and daughters, notably the brilliant fiddler Scotty (1932–73) and mandolin player Donna (b. 1934), played in The Bluegrass Champs, which developed into The Stonemans, featuring further siblings and ‘Pop’ Ernest himself. They made several albums and had their own television show before fading from view in the 1970s.
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