Grandpa Jones: Banjo player and singer from the United States (1913 - 1998)
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Grandpa Jones
Banjo player and singer from the United States

Grandpa Jones

Grandpa Jones
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Banjo player and singer from the United States
A.K.A. Louis Marshall Jones
Was Musician Banjoist Singer Songwriter
From United States of America
Field Music
Gender male
Birth 20 October 1913, Niagara, Henderson County, Kentucky, U.S.A.
Death 19 February 1998, Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee, U.S.A. (aged 84 years)
The details (from wikipedia)


Louis Marshall Jones (October 20, 1913 – February 19, 1998), known professionally as Grandpa Jones, was an American banjo player and "old time" country and gospel music singer. He is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.


Born in the small farming community of Niagara in Henderson County, Kentucky, Jones spent his teenage years in Akron, Ohio, where he began singing country music tunes on a radio show on WJW. His father was a fiddle player, and his mother was a ballad singer. In 1931, Jones joined the Pine Ridge String Band, which provided the musical accompaniment for the very popular Lum and Abner show. By 1935 his pursuit of a musical career took him to WBZ (AM) radio in Boston, Massachusetts, where he met musician/songwriter Bradley Kincaid, who gave him the nickname "Grandpa" because of his off-stage grumpiness at early-morning radio shows. Jones liked the name and decided to create a stage persona based around it. Later in life, he lived in Mountain View, Arkansas.


Performing as Grandpa Jones, he played the guitar or banjo, yodeled, and sang mostly old-time ballads. By 1937, Jones had made his way to West Virginia, where Cousin Emmy taught Jones the art of the clawhammer style of banjo playing, which gave a rough backwoods flavor to his performances. In 1942, Jones joined WLW in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was there that he met fellow Kentuckian Merle Travis. In 1943, they made their recording debuts together for Syd Nathan's upstart King Records. Jones was making records under his own name for King by 1944 and had his first hit with "It's Raining Here This Morning".

His recording career was put on hold when he enlisted in the United States Army during World War II. Discharged in 1946, he recorded again for King. In March 1946, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and started performing on the Grand Ole Opry and married Ramona Riggins on October 14, 1946. As an accomplished performer herself, she would take part in his performances. Jones' vaudeville humor was a bridge to television. His more famous songs include "T For Texas", "Are You From Dixie", "Night Train To Memphis" and "Mountain Dew", and "Eight More Miles To Louisville".

In 1969, Jones became a charter cast member on the long-running television show Hee Haw, often responding to the show's skits with his trademark phrase "Outrageous". He also played banjo, by himself or with banjo player David "Stringbean" Akeman. A musical segment featured in the early years had Jones and "his lovely wife Ramona" singing while ringing bells held in their hands and feet. A favorite skit had off-camera cast members ask, "Hey Grandpa, what's for supper?" in which he would describe a delicious, country-style meal, often in a rhyming talking blues style. Sometimes he would describe something not so good; i.e. "Because you were bad, thawed out TV dinners!"


A resident of rural Ridgetop, Tennessee, outside Nashville, he was a neighbor and friend of fellow musician David "Stringbean" Akeman. On the morning of November 11, 1973, Jones discovered the bodies of Akeman and his wife, who had been murdered during the night by robbers. Jones testified at the trial of the killers, his testimony helping to secure a conviction.


In 1978, Jones was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. His autobiography, Everybody's Grandpa: Fifty Years Behind The Mike was published in 1984.


In early January 1998, Jones suffered two strokes after his second show performance at the Grand Ole Opry. He died at 7:00 p.m. Central Time on February 19, 1998 at the McKendree Village Home Health Center in Hermitage, Tennessee, at age 84. He was buried in the Luton Memorial Methodist Church cemetery in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.


Jones recorded for several labels, including RCA Victor, King Records and Monument.

  • Grandpa Jones Sings His Greatest Hits (1954)
  • Country Music Hall of Fame Series (1992) MCA
  • Grandpa Jones & The Brown's Ferry Four 16 Sacred Gospel Songs, King Records
  • Grandpa Jones Yodeling Hits (1963) Monument
  • Grandpa Jones Remembers The Brown's Ferry Four (1966) Monument


Year Single US Country
1944 "It's Raining Here This Morning"
1946 "Eight More Miles To Louisville"
1947 "Mountain Dew"
1947 "Old Rattler"
1959 "The All-American Boy" 21
1962 "T for Texas" 5
1963 "Night Train To Memphis"
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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