Personalities | Reno & Smiley | Bluegrass | Country
(Vocal/instrumental duo, 1949–65)
Of all the banjoists that Bill Monroe hired to fill the shoes of the departed Earl Scruggs, Don Reno (banjo, vocals, guitar, 1927–84) came closer than any. Reno developed his own style by playing single-string guitar-like runs on the banjo. He also found his own equivalent of Lester Flatt when he met Arthur ‘Red’ Smiley (vocals, guitar, 1925–72) after leaving Monroe. They formed Reno & Smiley And The Tennessee Cut-Ups in 1949, with Reno’s instrumental invention and piercing high-tenor harmony contrasting with Smiley’s disarming, welcoming baritone. They stayed together until 1965, recording a series of classic sides for King Records.
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