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Lester Flatt (1914–79) was relieved when Dave ‘Stringbean’ Akeman left Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys in 1945, for Flatt felt the group was better off without a banjo, which had been hindering their efforts to play faster and cleaner than anyone had before. But Monroe agreed to audition a 21-year-old banjoist from western North Carolina, and Earl Scruggs ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music, consultant editor Bob Allen
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The banjo is a plucked stringed instrument with a circular body and fretted neck. Its roots lie in the French and British colonies of Africa, where instruments made from a hollowed-out gourd covered with animal skin, bamboo neck and catgut strings were popular. Particularly associated with celebrations and dancing, these instruments went by various names including banza and ...

Source: The Illustrated Complete Musical Instruments Handbook, general editor Lucien Jenkins
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were crucial in raising this instrument’s profile. Around the same time, banjo master Earl Scruggs, playing first with Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys and later with guitarist Lester Flatt, as Flatt And Scruggs, developed an intricate, three-finger picking style. In so doing, Scruggs raised banjo-playing to a new level of virtuosity and established the instrument’s ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music, consultant editor Bob Allen
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and 1940s. It was Burkett ‘Uncle Josh’ Graves who largely redefined the dobro as both a lead and rhythmic instrument in bluegrass during the early 1950s when he played dobro with Flatt And Scruggs, a definitive 1950s bluegrass ensemble. Double Bass The double bass was for a long time no more than a reinforcement at the foot of orchestral string arrangements ...

Source: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music, general editor Paul Du Noyer
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, Bill Monroe And The Blue Grass Boys, on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. By 1945 he had assembled the line-up of banjoist Earl Scruggs, singer-guitarist Lester Flatt, fiddler Chubby Wise and bassist Cedric Rainwater, a quintet that changed the history of country music. Monroe scored seven Top 20 country hits between 1946 and 1949. He ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music, consultant editor Bob Allen
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of songs about coalmining tragedies and mistreated women, which were recorded by the likes of Dolly Parton and Lynn Morris. Styles & Forms | Bluegrass | Country Personalities | Flatt & Scruggs | Bluegrass | Country ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music, consultant editor Bob Allen
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a vocal range that went from a warm baritone to a dizzying falsetto, and a local dj dubbed him Hylo Brown. He moved to Nashville in 1954, joined Flatt And Scruggs as a featured vocalist in 1957 and then formed his own quintet, The Timberliners – one of the finest bluegrass outfits of the era. Styles & Forms ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music, consultant editor Bob Allen
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(Banjo, guitar, vocals, b. 1937) James Dee Crowe was just a 19-year-old kid from Kentucky when he was hired by Jimmy Martin in 1956. By 1966 he had developed a banjo style that combined Earl Scruggs’ tumbling roll with Martin’s bouncy pulse. The line-up of Crowe, Bobby Slone, Tony Rice, Ricky Skaggs and Jerry Douglas ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music, consultant editor Bob Allen
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(Vocal/instrumental duo, 1945–80s) In much the same way that Earl Scruggs revolutionized the banjo with his three-finger roll, Jesse McReynolds (vocals, mandolin, b. 1927) transformed the mandolin with his pioneering cross-picking and split-string innovations. Like Scruggs, he was lucky to have a partner with an appealing tenor voice to make it easier for the public to ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music, consultant editor Bob Allen
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‘Oh, Lordy, son, he’s flat got it, ain’t he ?’ He did. As Monroe’s new singer-guitarist, Martin provided a louder, higher voice than Lester Flatt or Mac Wiseman and convinced Monroe to raise the pitch on many of his songs, making them even higher and more lonesome than before. And Martin’s guitar work had ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music, consultant editor Bob Allen
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novelty instrument before Josh Graves established it as one of the most crucial voices in bluegrass. Graves had played with Mac Wiseman and Wilma Lee And Stoney Cooper before joining Flatt & Scruggs in 1955, but it was with that duo that he made his biggest impact. He was prominently featured on their hit singles and albums for Columbia, ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music, consultant editor Bob Allen
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(Vocals, guitar, b. 1925) Mac Wiseman was a featured singer for Flatt And Scruggs in 1948 and for Bill Monroe in 1949, and when he headed up his own group, The Country Boys (featuring Eddie Adcock and Scotty Stoneman), he kept his warm, friendly tenor and his taste for Carter Family-like songs at the forefront. Wiseman ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music, consultant editor Bob Allen
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(Vocals, guitar, mandolin, songwriter, b. 1958) Aged only 13, Mississippi-born Stuart joined bluegrass legend Lester Flatt and Nashville Grass for six years until Flatt’s death. After this he enjoyed a six-year spell in The Johnny Cash Show. His first significant solo album was Busy Bee Café (1982). The title track of Hillbilly Rock (1990) largely sums ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music, consultant editor Bob Allen
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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 ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music, consultant editor Bob Allen
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, he was invited on stage to play a tune at a Bill Monroe concert at the age of six, and a year later, he appeared on the Flatt And Scruggs’ television show.  He then met Keith Whitley, another Kentuckian, who played guitar, and the two teenagers formed a band with Whitley’s brother, Dwight. ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music, consultant editor Bob Allen
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