The Music's Over

but the songs live on

Archive for the ‘Bluegrass’ Category

RIP, Hazel Dickens (April 22, 2011) Bluegrass Icon

Posted by on April 22, 2011

Hazel Dickens
June 1, 1935 – April 22, 2011

Hazel Dickens was a popular Appalachian bluegrass and folk singer, songwriter and musician who was revered for her beautiful voice as well as for her socially driven lyrics that tended to touch on feminism and pro-union causes.   Born into a a poor mining family in West Virginia, Dickens became friends with Pete Seeger’s brother and fellow musician Mike Seeger, who prompted her desire to get involved with the highly active Baltimore-Washington folk music scene of the ’60s.  She and Seeger’s wife, Alice Gerard went on to perform and record as Hazel & Alice.  By the mid ’70s, Dickens was working as a solo artist.  Four of her early recordings can be heard in the award-winning mining documentary, Harlan County, USA.  She also appeared in the film as well as Matewan and Songcatcher.  Although she stopped putting out albums in the mid ’80s, Dickens could still be found performing live for many years to come, even as recently as at Austin’s SXSW music conference in March of 2011.  Hazel Dickens passed away on April 22, 2011.  She was 75.

What You Should Own

Click to find at

Posted in Bluegrass, Folk, Musician, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

RIP, Carlton Haney (March 16, 2011) Bluegrass Promoter

Posted by on March 16, 2011

Carlton Haney
DOB Unknown – March 16, 2011

Photo by Marcia Goodman

Carlton Haney was a bluegrass and country music promoter who first came into the business while he was dating Bill Monroe’s daughter during the 1950s. It was during that time that he began booking shows for Monroe and eventually began managing bluegrass act, Reno & Smiley.  During the ’60s he became one of the first, if not THE first promoter to put together package shows that featured both bluegrass and country artists.  That lead to one of the America’s first successful multi-day bluegrass festivals which he launched over Labor Day weekend, 1965 in Fincastle, Virginia.  Over the course of his career, he was cited as a major contributor to the ultimate successes of such artists as Loretta Lynn, the Osbourne Brothers, Porter Waggoner, and Waylon Jennings, on whose Okie From Muskogee and The Fightin’ Side Of Me live albums, Haney can be heard introducing the singer.  He also penned a handful of bluegrass and country hits for others over the years.  Carlton Haney was 82 when he passed away on March 16, 2011.

Thanks to Janice Brooks at Bus of Real Country

Posted in Bluegrass, Country, Promoter, Songwriter | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

RIP, JP Fraley (February 17, 2011) Bluegrass Picker

Posted by on February 17, 2011

Jesse “JP” Fraley
DOB Unknown – February 17, 2011

JP Fraley was a bluegrass fiddler who is considered by many to have been the one of the greatest to ever come out of Kentucky.  After years working in the local mines, and later as a sales rep for mining equipment, Fraley became a professional musician.  He recorded three albums for the revered roots label, Rounder Records – each one included his wife, Annadeene Fraley on guitar.  The two spent most of their lives together, having met as children.  Fraley spent much of his time teaching young fiddlers and wrote several instruction books.  During the ’70s, Fraley began his annual Mountain Music Gathering which started out as a family reunion but quickly grew into one of the biggest old-time music festivals in northeastern Kentucky.  JP Fraley was 87 when he passed away on February 17, 2011.

What You Should Own

Click to find at


Posted in Bluegrass, Musician | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

RIP, Bud Reed (February 12, 2011) Bluegrass Pioneer

Posted by on February 12, 2011

Ralph “Bud” Reed
January 16, 1918 – February 12, 2011

Bud Reed was a respected bluegrass and old-timey musician who will be forever linked with his wife and musical collaborator, Ola Belle Reed.  After serving his country during WWII, Reed came home to focus on a music career, mainly that of his wife.  He can be heard playing guitar and harmonica on several of her records.  Over the years, the Reeds opened a handful of music-themed amusement parks in Pennsylvania.  Legends likes of Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, and Ralph Stanley have all graced their stages from time to time.  In 1982, Reed cut his own album, a tribute to the songs of Jimmie Rodgers.  Bud Reed was 93 when he passed away on February 12, 2011.

Posted in Bluegrass, Musician | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

RIP, Sterling Belcher (January 29, 2011) Bluegrass Festival Founder

Posted by on January 29, 2011

Sterling Belcher
June 14, 1939 – January 29, 2011

Sterling Belcher was a music promoter who founded the Festival of The Pines in Rocky Point, Virginia in 1981.  A tireless lover of bluegrass music, Belcher brought such acts as Ralph Stanley, Alison Krauss, Jimmy Martin and Rhonda Vincent to the sleepy surroundings of Tripple Creek Music Campground throughout the years.  He regularly received recognition for his commitment to bluegrass music from local, regional and national music associations.  Sterling Belcher was 71 when he passed away on January 29, 2011.

Posted in Bluegrass, Promoter | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

RIP, Joe Forrester (January 16, 2011) Played With Bill Monroe

Posted by on January 16, 2011

Joe Forrester
March 21, 1919 – January 16, 2011

Joe Forrester was a bluegrass pioneer.  He is perhaps best remembered for playing alongside his brother, Howdy Forrester, in Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys.  In 1935, Forrester moved to Nashville where he had the opportunity to play at the Grand Ole Opry.  He could also be heard playing on radio stations in Tulsa, OK and Tuscola, IL.  After taking a break to serve his country during World War II – he landed on Utah Beach on D-Day, Forrester returned to music and performed with the likes of Gene Autry, Georgia Slim, and  Art Davis.  Joe Forrester was 91 when he passed away on January 16, 2011.


Posted in Bluegrass, Musician | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

RIP, Remus Bell (November 1, 2010) Bluegrass Great

Posted by on November 1, 2010

Remulus Bell
DOB Unknown – November 1, 2010

Remus Bell was a Roanoake, Virginia bass player who, over a career that spanned some 60 years, was one of the region’s most respected bluegrass and country musicians.   Bell launched his professional career in 1950 and went on to play with such local bands as Tommy Magness’ Tennessee Buddies, and Vivian Bell & the Country Kings. Vivian Bell was his wife.   During the early ’50s, he played on recordings by Magness.  His long music career was briefly interrupted when he served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War.  Remus Bell was 79 when he passed away on November 1, 2010.

Posted in Bluegrass, Musician | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

RIP, Rual Yarbrough (September 21, 2010) Bluegrass Pioneer

Posted by on September 21, 2010

Rual Yarbrough
January 13, 1930 – September 21, 2010

Rual Yarbrough was a respected banjoist who performed and recorded with some of biggest names in bluegrass.  Proficient on the banjo, Yarbrough formed his first band, the Dixie Gentlemen, during the mid 50s.  After the group broke up in 1966, Yarbrough went on to play in Jimmy Martin’s band.  From there he played with Jim & Jesse McReynolds, Bobby Smith, and the great Bill Monroe, for whom he played on over twenty records.  Rual Yarbrough was 80 when he died of pulmonary fibrosis on September 21, 2010.

Posted in Bluegrass, Musician | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Died On This Date (August 30, 2009) Jim Steptoe / Played Banjo In Patent Pending

Posted by on August 30, 2010

Jim Steptoe
DOB Unknown – August 30, 2009

steptoeBest known in bluegrass circles as the banjo player in Patent Pending, Jim Steptoe passed away unexpectedly in his home on August 30, 2009.  Patent Pending formed in 1979 and became a popular draw in the Washington DC area.  No cause of death has been released.

Posted in Bluegrass, Musician | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Died On This Date (August 23, 2006) David Schnaufer / Respected Dulcimer Player

Posted by on August 23, 2010

David Schnaufer
DOB Unknown – August 23, 2006

David Schnaufer was a folk musician whose instrument of choice, the dulcimer, can be heard on countless country, Americana and bluegrass recordings.  During the ’80s, he moved from Texas to Nashville where he became one of the most in-demand studio players.  Over the years he’s played on records by the likes of the Judds, Kathy Mattea, Hank Williams Jr., Alison Krauss, and Cyndi Lauper.  He was also a member of alt-country band, the Cactus Brothers which included members of Walk The West.   During the mid ’90s, he became a music professor at Vanderbilt University.  David Schnaufer died of lung cancer on August 23, 2010.


Posted in Americana, Bluegrass, Country, Musician | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »