Born in Niagra, Kentucky, Grandpa Jones learned how to play guitar and was playing for dances when he was eleven years old. He moved to Akron as a teenager and got a job on radio station WJW as “The Young Singer of Old Songs.” He worked in the backup band for the popular Lum and Abner radio show, which at that time originated in Cleveland. He went on the road with Bradley Kincaid and “Bashful Harmonica Joe” Troyan and eventually struck out on his own at WWVA in Wheeling, West Virginia, singing old-time songs, Jimmie Rodgers songs, yodeling, and doing comedy. While there, he met Cousin Emmy (Cynthia May Carver), who taught him how to play clawhammer banjo. He spent three years in Cincinnati on the Boone County Jamboree, where he, Merle Travis, and the Delmore Brothers founded the gospel quartet The Browns Ferry Four and he met his future wife, Ramona Riggins, an excellent fiddle player. He and Merle Travis became the first artists to record for Cincinnati’s King Records; their first four sides were cut in Dayton. Grandpa was to become a full-fledged star on King, with hits like “Mountain Dew,” “Eight More Miles To Louisville,” “Old Rattler,” and “It’s Raining Here This Morning.” He is listed as composer of the classic “Tragic Romance,” which his friend Cowboy Copas had a hit with on King (Wiley and Zeke Morris also claimed authorship). In 1962, Grandpa had a top-five country record with “T for Texas” on Monument Records, followed by an entire album of yodel songs. He also cut a live album for Monument at the Black Stallion Night Club in Cincinnati. Grandpa was a long-time member of the Grand Ole Opry, and became a household name as a charter cast member of the Hee-Haw TV show. There he sang and performed comedy as well as recycling the Browns Ferry Four’s repertoire with the Hee-Haw Gospel Quartet. Late in his career, Grandpa Jones recorded old-time country songs on CMH Records. In 1978, he was elected to the Country Music Hall Of Fame. In 2002 he was elected to the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame.

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