I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #247

From October 1, 2010 through to the end of September 2011, we will, each day, celebrate the life of Bill Monroe by sharing information about him and those people who are associated with his life and music career. This information will include births and deaths; recording sessions; single, LP and CD release dates; and other interesting tidbits. Richard F. Thompson is responsible for the research and compilation of this information. We invite readers to share any tidbits, photos or memories you would like us to include.

  • June 4, 1932 Ernest ‘Ernie’ Graves was born. *
  • June 4, 1984 Bill Monroe and son, James, opened the Bluegrass Hall of Fame at 2620 Music Valley Drive, half a mile from Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee. **
  • June 4, 2001 John Hartford died in a Nashville hospital, aged 63, after a long battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.  ***

* Graves was hired by Bill Monroe and played guitar for him from July 1957 to September of that same year.

** The museum was located on a four acre site off Briley Parkway, near the Cumberland River.  It was close enough to the Opryland complex – less than a mile, but in a less-congested area bordered by a family campground, where a relaxed atmosphere prevailed.

In 1986 it was re-located to the Bean Blossom Memorial Music Park & Campground in Bean Blossom, Indiana. The grand opening of the new Bill Monroe Bluegrass Hall of Fame & Country Star Museum took place during the fall festival, September 4-6, 1986.

*** John Hartford played the banjo for Bill Monroe for one date in 1957.

Hartford was an American original. He was a musician, songwriter, steamboat pilot, author, artist, disc jockey, calligrapher, dancer, folklorist, father and historian.

At an early age, he fell in love with two things; music and the Mississippi River and both played a significant part in his life thereafter. Often he combined the two interests, singing of the stern-wheeler the Julia Belle Swain and other original songs that focused on the river.

The three-time Grammy award winner wrote one of the most popular songs of all time, Gentle on My Mind.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics.

A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe.

He wrote the annotated series I’m On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.