Clyde Maness passes

Clyde Maness at the Music Barn – photo by G Nicholas Hancock

Clyde Maness, bass player and proprietor of Maness Pottery & Music Barn in Carthage, NC, passed away on Sunday, July 31. The most recent recipient of Alan Perdue Memorial Bluegrass Music Award was 80.

“Another legend is gone,” shared Janice Perdue, mother of mandolinist Alan Perdue, who presented Maness with the award on March 8 for his contribution to bluegrass music.

Maness served the bluegrass community for 48 years, offering a weekly gathering place since 1974 for folks to come together for a covered dish meal and lots of open jamming. Many professional musicians got their start picking at Clyde’s.

Clyde was a storyteller. He would drop names, relay events, and share photos from his musical escapades.

Nathan Aldridge, fiddler with Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, declared, “Clyde embellished things. I liked listening to his Grand Ole Opry stories that he would tell.”

Maness often told newcomers about his inspiration for starting his weekly jam. “I was at the Grand Ole Opry and I told Roy Acuff that I was going to build a music barn. He said, ‘if you build it, they will come,’ and he was right. There wasn’t church on Tuesday night so it seemed like a good time.”

He not only opened his pottery shop for music, Maness fed the masses, cooking 12-14 pounds of pintos and 20 pounds of potato salad each week. There was never an admission fee, just a donation basket by the door.

He liked to talk numbers. “Sometimes there’s 100 people. Sometimes there’s 200 or 300. In 1990, it got so big we added a room.”

Though the crowd varied in size, there were weekly regulars. Big T and Pammy Lassiter were there most Tuesdays. 

“Clyde was the biggest friend a bluegrass player could have in central North Carolina. He was just a big ole ball of love. We were blessed to have known him,” Big T related.

Another regular, guitarist Bob Dotson, added, “Clyde always made me feel like I was a great musician and entertainer. I would play The Old Spinning Wheel for him because I thought that was his favorite song. No doubt he loved music, I would see him everywhere someone was playing. He is a true legend and will be missed by many people. Anyone that knew Clyde could not help but love him.”

Guitarist Kevin Richardson shared, “I have known Clyde all my life. We attended the same church in Robbins, NC when I was a child. He has always been a friend and a supporter of bluegrass and music in general. He would do anything to help you, and I loved his support for the younger musicians. He will be missed by all of us. Thank you, Clyde, for your love and dedication to all of us. Rest In Peace, my friend!”

“Clyde Maness was everybody’s friend. He opened up his music barn to so many. I am especially grateful to him for allowing myself, along with my friends, to get on stage at a very young age when we really weren’t good enough to be there! That’s something I will always remember. Thanks for all the great memories, Clyde! Tuesday nights just won’t be the same without you,” stressed Trent Callicutt who has picked banjo with Kenny & Amanda Smith and Dailey & Vincent.

Young and old were welcome and present at Clyde’s weekly jam. Sixteen year old powerhouse picker, Jake Goforth, stated, “I always enjoyed going to Clyde’s. We’d stay and pick for hours and he’d be there until the last person would leave. Gonna miss him and his great soul.”

Rising songstress, Caroline Owens, agreed. “I’ve had a very heavy heart since hearing of his passing. He was a local legend to many, but a friend to all. I can’t recall a single time that I walked through the doors of his pottery barn that I didn’t feel welcomed. He had a heart of gold and a passion for bluegrass. I am certainly going to miss him on Tuesday nights. His absence leaves a void that none could ever fill.”

Each week, Clyde manned the sound board as band after band took the stage while others jammed throughout the building. This week his chair will be empty, the stage quiet, and the building vacant. It is a sad end of an era in NC bluegrass music. RIP, Clyde Maness.

Maness is survived by his wife of 62 years, four children, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

The family will receive friends from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., Wednesday, August 3, 2022 at Kennedy Funeral Home, in Robbins, NC. Funeral service will be 2:00 p.m., Thursday  August 4, 2022 at Victory Community Baptist Church, with Dr. Bill Maness and Reverend Bryan Maness officiating. Burial will follow in the Wallace Family Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to:

Maness Music Barn
c/o Edna Maness
10995 NC Hwy 24/27
Carthage, NC, 28327

Condolences can be shared online.

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About the Author

Sandy Hatley

Sandy Chrisco Hatley is a free lance writer for several NC newspapers and Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. As a teenager, she picked banjo with an all girl band called the Happy Hollow String Band. Today, she plays dobro with her husband's band, the Hatley Family.