Pioneering bluegrass banjo player Eddie Adcock has been selected for induction at the 31st Annual Bill Monroe Hall of Fame & Uncle Pen Days Festival, held September 21-24, 2005 at the Bill Monroe Memorial Park in Bean Blossom, IN. Serious students of the five string banjo – and the history of bluegrass banjo – regard Eddie’s contributions to the instrument as huge, and involving a major departure in style and technique from the playing of Earl Scruggs and Don Reno, whose innovations had largely dominated the study of the banjo prior to Eddie’s arrival in the 1960s.
Adcock started his musical career in the early 1950s, working with Smokey Graves & His Blue Star Boys. His regular radio appearances with the Graves show brought him to the attention of a number of other bluegrass artists, and Eddie soon found himself working with such well known performers as Bill Harrell and Mac Wiseman. After a very brief stint as a member of Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys in 1957-58, Eddie was contacted by John Duffey and Charlie Waller about their idea to form a new group, one now celebrated as The Country Gentlemen.
He remained as a member of the Gentlemen until the late ’60s when he left to pursue his own musical direction, a move that sparked such acts as Second Generation (II Generation), Talk Of The Town and Eddie & Martha Adcock where both his ground breaking banjo (and guitar) playing and his clever stage humor were brought to the attention of successive generations of bluegrass fans.
It may be hard for ears new to bluegrass music in this century to recognize the impact of Eddie’s unique banjo style when he first came to prominence in the 1960s. What may sound almost mainstream now was quite startlingly fresh at the time, and his ability to integrate aspects of Merle Travis-style guitar into his banjo was as distinctive a part of the original Country Gentlemen sound as Charlie Waller or John Duffey’s voices.
Congratulations to Eddie for this honor… you’ve earned it.