People

Meet the individuals who defined the sound of old time country music at the pinnacle of Appalachian ingenuity. These are the figures with the grit and fortitude for commercial success and those who maintained their connection to the deeper traditions of folk at the dawn of a new industry.

Fields Ward

Fields Ward

BY MARTY McGEE— Old-time singer and guitarist Fields Mac Ward was born January 23, 1911, in Buck Mountain, Grayson County, Virginia. Fields was influenced by a musically rich family: Father Crockett (ca. early 1880s—mid—1960s) was

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The Hill Billies 1928

The Hill Billies

BY MARTY McGEE— The Hill Billies, an early old-time string band, radio and vaudeville act, was organized in Galax, Virginia, in the mid-1920s. The bands’ original members were fiddler Alonzo Elvis “Tony” Alderman of Carroll

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Posey Rorer

Posey Rorer

BY KINNEY RORRER— When the highly influential Anthology of American Folk Music was released in 1952, the acclaimed producer Harry Smith selected what he considered the best representations of commercially recorded folk music that appeared

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Holland Puckett

Holland Puckett

BY MARTY McGEE— Holland Puckett was born July 15, 1899, on a farm in The Hollows, Patrick County, Virginia. He lived between Ararat, Virginia, and nearby Mount Airy, North Carolina. Puckett had strong ties to

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American old-time music fiddler and banjoist Wade Ward of Bog Trotters Band

Wade Ward

BY MARTY McGEE— Benjamin “Uncle” Wade Ward, born on October 15, 1892, near the town of Independence in Grayson County, Virginia, was known for his frailing or clawhammer style of banjo playing. He also had

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