I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #364

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.

September 29, 1956 Paul Kovac was born in Chardon, Ohio.
September 29, 1996 The Country Music Association paid tribute to Bill Monroe during its annual award show at the Grand Ole Opry House.
September 29th, 2006  Ceremony – The Ryman Auditorium hosted a ceremony to mark the erection and unveiling of a state historical marker celebrating the “Birth of Bluegrass”. **
September 29, 2008 CD released – Bill Monroe – Famous Country Music Makers, 2 CD set (High Fidelity Records HFMCD 2011) ***

* Paul Kovac filled in, playing banjo, with the Blue Grass Boys at Geneva, Ohio, just a day or two after Butch Robins left. (see I’m Going back to Old Kentucky #278 for Kovac’s personal recollection of the two occasions on which he shared the stage with Bill Monroe.)

A singer, multi-instrumentalist and scholar of American country music, Kovac has been playing old-time and bluegrass music on guitar, mandolin and banjo since 1974, while he was still a teenager.

A member of several bands over the last thirty years, Kovac has played with Clear Fork, Bluegrass Reflections, Critton Hollow String Band and the Fiddle Puppets. Over the years, he has also performed with Dirk Powell and Rick Good and Hazel Dickens.

He has been on the staff at numerous music and dance camps and he co-ordinated the Bluegrass Week at the Augusta Heritage Center from 1996 to 2007.

** The marker, presented to the Ryman Auditorium by the Tennessee Historical Commission, commemorates a formative moment in the history of Bluegrass Music that took place on the Ryman stage. The ceremony was scheduled to coincide with the 2006 International Bluegrass Music Association conference, IBMA awards, and Fan Fest events which were held during the same week. The ceremony was held outside at the 5th Avenue end of the Ryman Auditorium.

The marker reads:

“In December 1945, Grand Ole Opry star Bill Monroe and his mandolin brought to the Ryman Auditorium stage a band that created a new American musical form. With the banjo style of Earl Scruggs and the guitar of Lester Flatt, the new musical genre became known as “Bluegrass.” Augmented further by the fiddle of Chubby Wise and the bass of Howard Watts (also known as Cedric Rainwater), this ensemble became known as “The Original Bluegrass Band” which became a prototype for groups that followed.”

*** Bill Monroe – Famous Country Music Makers, 40 tracks

Known as The Father of Bluegrass, mandolin-playing Bill Monroe virtually invented this distinctive Country genre. His famous songs include Uncle Pen and Blue Moon of Kentucky which was one side of Elvis Presley’s first single. His group The Blue Grass Boys once included the famous duo Flatt and Scruggs. A musical purist, Monroe gained a new audience during the 60s Folk revival, and performed to massive crowds at the Newport Folk Festival. Elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1970, and inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 as an early influence. Key tracks: Blue Moon of Kentucky, Uncle Pen, Kentucky Waltz and Footprints In The Snow. (CD Description)

Track listing – Blue Moon Of Kentucky, Y’all Come, Uncle Pen, New Muleskinner Blues, I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome, Footprints In The Snow, Sittin’ Alone In The Moonlight, On And On, White House Blues, Happy On My Way, Voice From On High, Close By, Put My Little Shoes Away, Used To Be, Lord Protect My Soul, Brakeman’s Blues, Rocky Road Blues, In The Pines, Cryin’ Holy Unto My Lord and Goodbye Old Pal

Orange Blossom Special, Kentucky Waltz, Heavy Traffic Ahead, Wicked Path Of Sin, It’s Mighty Dark To Travel, Can’t You Hear Me Callin’, My Little Georgia Rose, I’m On My Way To The Old Home, No Letter In The Mail, Six White Horses, Dog House Blues, I Wonder If You Feel The Way I Do, Were You There? Anniversary Blue Yodel (Blue Yodel No 7), Honky Tonk Swing, True Life Blues, Nobody Loves Me, Sweetheart You Done Me Wrong, Travellin’ This Lonesome Road and Little Cabin Home On The Hill.

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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.