You are looking at  1-4 of 4 articles  for:

  • country music performer x
Clear All

Article

McMichen, Clayton (26 January 1900–03 January 1970), country music fiddler, singer, and composer, was born in Allatoona, Georgia, some forty miles northeast of Atlanta. His family was from a Scots-Irish clan who had been in the area since the 1790s and had absorbed many of the Anglo-American folk-music styles in the area, from shape-note religious singing to playing the fretless banjo. McMichen’s own father was what he called “one of those sophisticated Irish violin players” who could read music and play anything from breakdowns to light classics, and young McMichen grew up listening to a wide variety of music. As a youth, McMichen was determined to make his living as an automobile mechanic but was soon drawn into trying to make a living by fiddling....

Article

Rutherford, Leonard C. (1900–1950), country music fiddler and composer, was born in Corbin, Kentucky, the son of Henry Rutherford, a restaurant owner. His mother’s name is unknown. He was reared in the nearby town of Somerset. When Rutherford was only thirteen or fourteen, he began to work for Dick Burnett, a blind banjoist, guitarist, and singer who was traveling around the southern Kentucky area performing old-time music. Burnett, born in 1883 in Monticello, Kentucky, was a driller in the local oil fields until 1907, when he was shot and blinded in a robbery. After that, Burnett had won fame as a “busker” (a traveling musician who played on street corners and courthouse lawns) and was well known in the area when he asked Rutherford’s family if he could take the boy along as a guide and apprentice musician. They agreed, and the team of Burnett and Rutherford was born, a duo that would remain intact for some thirty-five years....

Article

Smith, Fiddlin’ Arthur (10 April 1898–28 February 1971), musician and composer, was born in the hamlet of Bold Springs, Humphries County, about forty miles west of Nashville, Tennessee, the son of William Calvin Smith, a farmer. His mother’s name is unknown. Family stories recall Smith trying to play the fiddle when he was as young as five; the West Tennessee area, where he grew up, was rich in a distinctive fiddling tradition that eventually produced other nationally known musicians like Howdy Forrester and Paul Warren. Smith grew up playing for rural dances in the area, eventually marrying (in 1914) a young woman named Nettie (maiden name unknown), who played guitar for him. The couple had eight children. His fiddling continued to develop under the influence of a local musician named Grady Stringer....

Article

Travis, Merle (29 November 1917–20 October 1983), country music guitarist, singer, and composer, was born Merle Robert Travis in the western Kentucky hamlet of Rosewood, Muhlenberg County, in the heart of the coal mining district, the son of William Robert Travis, a former tobacco farmer turned coal miner, and Laura Etta Latham. Merle was the youngest of four sons born to the couple and as a boy inherited the guitar of his older brother Taylor; he became fascinated with the instrument and announced to his eighth-grade teacher that he did not need formal schooling because he planned to make his living with his guitar—a bold statement at a time when country music was in its commercial infancy....