September Hi Y’all

1. Buck Graves, also known as “Uncle Josh”, first recorded with Flatt and Scruggs on September 2, 1955. He is generally regarded as the man who introduced the Dobro to bluegrass music, being the first to use Earl Scruggs’ three-finger roll with the Dobro, giving it a new sound and new life.

2. On September 3, 1965 at Carlton Haney’s farm in Fincastle, VA, the First day of the very first multi-day bluegrass festival began~!

3. Monroe recorded “Blue Moon of Kentucky” for Decca on September 4, 1954. Biographer Richard Smith says that Monroe devoted a session exclusively to re-recording ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky.'” Instead of just having a single fiddle player on this one, he brought in not twin-harmony fiddles, but triple-harmony fiddles to play on this recording. Bill Monroe’s “Blue Moon of Kentucky” was adopted as the official bluegrass song of Kentucky in 1988.

4. Roscoe Holcomb, born September 5, 1912, was a prominent figure in Appalachian folk music and is the inspiration for the term “high, lonesome sound.”

5. On September 6, 1901, William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States, was shot on the grounds of the Pan-American Exposition at the Temple of Music in Buffalo, New York. He was shaking hands with the public when an anarchist, shot him twice in the abdomen.

6. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the “Singing Brakeman” “Jimmie” Rodgers born on September 8, 1897, Among the first country music superstars and pioneers, Rodgers was also known as “The Blue Yodeler” and “The Father of Country Music” He sold over 12 million records and was the first person to be elected into the Country Music Hall Of Fame.

7. September 8, 1932 was the birthday of Virginia Patterson Hensley, known professionally as Patsy Cline. Her hits began in 1957 with ‘Walkin’ After Midnight.’ She was one of the most influential, successful and acclaimed female vocalists of the 20th century. Ten years after her death, in 1973, she became the first female solo artist inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

8. Bill Monroe, creator of the style of music known as bluegrass, was born on September 13th 1911. Monroe’s performing career spanned 69 years as a singer, instrumentalist, composer and bandleader. He is often referred to as the Father of Bluegrass. The genre takes its name from his band, the Blue Grass Boys, named for his home state of Kentucky. The nickname of the bluegrass state is based on the bluegrass found in many of its pastures due to the fertile soil. It is actually green, but in the spring produces bluish-purple buds. This gives a rich blue cast to the grass when seen in large fields.

9. Christian Friedrich “C.F.” Martin III was born on September 9, 1894. C.F. Martin & Co., founded in 1833 and headquartered in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, is the world’s oldest surviving producer of guitars and the largest producer of acoustic guitars in the United States. Martin instruments can sell for thousands of dollars and vintage instruments occasionally command six-figure prices. The company has also made mandolins as well as several models of electric guitars and electric basses, though none of these other instruments are currently in production.

10. September is now “Worldwide Bluegrass Music Month.” A grass roots event with no official controlling or promoting body, it has been celebrated in the month of May since Bob Wolff envisioned and created it in 1988. IBMA has now brought the event under the umbrella of the organization, lending its official weight to the celebration, but at the same time changing the date. With the encouragement of several industry leaders and Mr. Wolff’s blessing, the celebration in 2010 shifted from the month of May to September to capitalize on media interest surrounding the IBMA Awards, World of Bluegrass events and Bill Monroe’s birthday. We think every month is Bluegrass Month so go ahead and attend your favorite bluegrass event this month.

11. Wade Mainer, an American country singer and banjoist, from Weaverville, NC., with his band, the Sons of the Mountaineers, is credited with bridging the gap between old-time mountain music and Bluegrass. He is sometimes called the “Grandfather of Bluegrass.” He innovated a two-finger banjo fingerpicking style, which was a precursor to modern three-finger bluegrass styles. Bill Monroe, Doc Watson and Ralph Stanley have all said that Wade was a musician that inspired them in their formative years.

12. Wilma Lee Cooper, her parents and two sisters had a gospel group in the 1930’s called the Leary Family. “Stoney” Cooper was hired as the fiddle player and married Wilma Lee in 1940. Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper performed together for 38 years. Their band, The Clinch Mountain Clan, was one of the first to feature the Dobro. In 1974, the Smithsonian Institution named her “the first lady of bluegrass”.

13. Roy Acuff, Originally called “The King of the Hillbillies” now known as “The King of Country Music,” was born September 15, 1903. In 1936, He first sang “The Great Speckled Bird,” at the Grand Ole Opry with his band “The Crazy Tennesseans” (The song comes from a passage in the Bible, Jeremiah 12:9). In 1938, Roy joined the Grand Ole Opry and was its first international star. In 1962 Roy was the first living person elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. He taught President Richard Nixon how to yo-yo on stage at the Grand Ole Opry in 1974. He was a man of many talents.

14. The “original” bluegrass band recorded for the first time on September 16, 1946 with Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Chubby Wise, Joe Forrester, and Howard Watts. This lineup has been dubbed the “Original Bluegrass Band”, as the music finally included all the elements that characterize bluegrass music, including breakneck tempos, sophisticated vocal harmony arrangements, and impressive instrumental proficiency demonstrated in solos or “breaks” on the mandolin, banjo, and fiddle. By this point, Monroe had acquired the 1923 Gibson F5 model “Lloyd Loar” mandolin which became his trademark instrument for the remainder of his career.

15. DJ Ralph Papile was a talented Bluegrass musician playing mandolin and guitar. He had a Bluegrass Mix radio show on September 15, 2015 that featured the Lloyd Loar Master Model F-5 mandolin and some of the artists who played one. Lloyd was a designer for the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co. Ltd. and sound engineer in the early part of the 20th century. He is most famous for his F-5 model mandolin and L-5 guitar. One of the featured artist was Barry Mitterhoff born on September 16, 1951. He highlighted the recording of the “original” Bill Monroe and The Bluegrass Boys and of course, Bill’s birthday. I love how Bluegrass music always seems to “work together.”

16. Clyde Moody born September 19, 1915 was known as the “Hillbilly Waltz King” and sometimes as “The Genial Gentleman of Country Music.” Born in Cherokee, North Carolina, He was one of the great founders of American Bluegrass music getting his start in the late 1938 with J. E. Mainer’s Mountaineers. In September 1940 he joined Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys on the Grand Ole Opry. Clyde has the rare distinction of having played mandolin on a Blue Grass Boys session, as he provided the rhythm chops on “Mule Skinner Blues” and “Dog House Blues”, while Monroe played guitar – the only instance where a Blue Grass Boy other than Bill played mandolin at a Monroe recording session.

17. Charles Sawtelle born on September 20, 1946, was an outstanding guitarist who’s unique style helped define the bluegrass sound for over twenty-five years. As an original member of Hot Rize, his influence has been profound, having performed at every major bluegrass festival in the United States as well as on many radio and television shows including The Grand Old Opry, Austin City Limits, The Prairie Home Companion and several Nashville Network television productions.

18. Paul “Moon” Mullins was born on September 24, 1936. He became a country fiddle player, but it was as a performer of gospel music and gospel-tinged bluegrass that he became best known. He worked with various bands, including the Stanley Brothers and The Bluegrass Playboys. Moon composed the tune “Katy Daly”, which has become a well-known bluegrass standard. He played fiddle on recording sessions with Charlie Moore and Bill Napier, Larry Sparks, the Goins Brothers, Charlie Monroe, Earl Taylor and Jim McCall, Jimmy Martin, and The Boys From Indiana. He was a broadcaster and musician in the Miami Valley, Ohio for over 40 years.

19. September 25, 1947 is the Birthday of Larry Sparks “The Elvis of Bluegrass.” He began singing and playing bluegrass when he was 5 years old, learning the guitar from his sister Bernice. He got his first professional job as guitarist with the Stanley Brothers, replacing George Shuffler. After Carter died, he began singing lead, and was the first lead singer with Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys. In 1969 he formed his band The Lonesome Ramblers and they are still performing today.

20. Happy Birthday to Sierra Dawn Hull, born on September 27, 1991. She began playing the mandolin at the age of eight, was signed to Rounder Records at the age of 13 and released her debut vocal album, Secrets, in 2008 at the age of 16. Hull received the Bluegrass Star Award, presented by the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation, on October 19, 2013. The award is bestowed upon bluegrass artists who do an ex-emp-lar-y job of advancing traditional bluegrass music and bringing it to new audiences while preserving its character and heritage. Sierra married fellow bluegrass musician Justin Moses on May 14, 2017 and they tour together~!

21. Wreck of the Old 97 happened on September 27, 1903. The Old 97 was a Southern Railway train officially known as the Fast Mail. The train started its career on December 1902, close to two years after Casey Jones’s death. It ran from Washington DC to Atlanta, Georgia. While en route from Monroe, Virginia, to Spencer, North Carolina, the train derailed at Stillhouse Trestle near Danville, Virginia This inspired the famous railroad ballad, The Wreck of the Old 97.

22. Phil Rosenthal is from Guilford, Connecticut and was born on September 30, 1949. He plays ALL of the bluegrass instruments. A prolific songwriter, his songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe, the Osborne Brothers and the Seldom Scene, with whom he played guitar and sang lead during the years of 1978-1986. Phil has his own record company (American Melody Records), which specializes in traditional folk music for children. In 1994, he was named the official State Troubadour of Connecticut.

23. the Stanley Brothers, with their band, the Clinch Mountain Boys, recorded “How Mountain Girls Can Love,” September 30, 1959. Carter sang and played guitar. Ralph’s banjo technique and his “high lonesome” singing style at a quick tempo are showcased.

24. Becky Buller grew up in Minnesota, and played fiddle with her parents Gordy and Roxy Shultz in the group Prairie Grass. She studied classical violin, but her heart has always been that of a fiddler. Becky made Bluegrass history in 2016 winning TWO IBMA awards – Female Vocalist AND Fiddler of the Year! Again, in 2018, she has received the most nominations for anyone in Bluegrass!

25. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Josh Swift, September 25, 1986, resonator guitarist with Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver; he plays a multitude of instruments: dobro, lap steel, bass, mandolin, banjo, and piano. He says, “This gig is an absolute BLAST and I am honored not only to travel with DLQ, but to find myself constantly learning life’s lessons. God has been so good to me and I give him ALL the glory.”

About the author

I enjoy researching Bluegrass, Bluegrass Gospel, and Country birthdays, anniversaries and interesting trivia dates. I am a piano/organ performance major who has taught privately and served as church accompanist since 1968 in North Carolina and Central Kentucky. Although classically trained, I appreciate all genres of music. My mother, who was also a church musician and taught public school music grades K-12, knew that Bluegrass music was the purest American music. She always introduced her students to this fine genre and began my musical studies with her at age 2. Bach to Berachah Valley, Mozart to Jimmy Martin, Sibelius to Stanley Brothers, the list goes on, I hope you find some moments of enjoyment and learn a few interesting facts along the way.
I am thankful for the many resources we have at our fingertips including Google. FaceBook and BluegrassBios by Wayne Rice. It was he who inspired me to tackle the task of trying to pass on knowledge about Bluegrass music. Thanks Wayne~!
Lou Ellen Wilkie