Stoneman has been a magic name in country, old time, and bluegrass music since 1927. That’s when Ernest “Pop” Stoneman first recorded for Victor in Bristol, Tennessee with several members of his family in what came to be known as The Bristol Sessions.
He went on to become successful in country music with several of his many talented children. Scotty in particular, who died in 1973 at 41 years of age, was surely among the most influential fiddlers in the history of bluegrass music, and was an impressive vocalist to boot.
Pop’s youngest surviving daughter Veronica, known as Roni, has also had a career in music. She had played banjo with The Stonemans as a young girl and achieved star status as a character on the old Hee Haw television program, where she blacked out a few teeth and played a flirtatious hillbilly, Ida Lee Nagger.
Roni has continued performing to the present day, in a show that mixes her comedy, banjo playing, storytelling, and many of the old songs that made her and her family famous. Her recent autobiography, Pressing On, helped recall The Stonemans to a modern audience, retelling her hardscrabble life on the road before there was big money in country music.
And earlier this month, at the age of 72, she received the prestigious Musician of the Year award from the Reunion of Professional Entertainers Awards, known as the R.O.P.E Award. This is a peer recognition from other people with a long history in the industry, including artists as well as those who work in recording, promotion, advertising, publicity and other aspects of the music business.
ROPE has existed for the past 28 years, with Mac Wiseman currently serving as their Chairman. They function as Nashville’s chief organization in support of traditional country music.
Roni was delighted to receive this award, which she sees as going to the whole Stoneman family for their long service promoting the music.