"People have told me they enjoy the way I play bluegrass music and it makes me real happy. You know, there's two kinds of tears that you shed in this world and that's the tears of sadness and the tears of happiness. You're looking at a man who has shed 'em all. But bluegrass music and country music has been good to me and I've loved it." -- Jimmy Martin, from an interview in 2003 documentary about his life, "King of Bluegrass: The Life and Times of Jimmy Martin".
As a youngster in Sneedville, TN, Jimmy Martin was completely fascinated by the sounds of the weekly radio broadcast of WSM's Grand Ole Opry, the pinnacle institution in country music for musicians of his generation. When he was five years old, he made his first guitar out of a Prince Albert cigar can because Prince Albert was a sponsor of the Grand Ole Opry. At the age of 21, Martin was fired for singing on the job in a factory in Morristown, TN. He then boarded a bus to Nashville to catch a show at the Grand Ole Opry. Following the show he talked his way backstage and approached his idol, bluegrass pioneer, Bill Monroe. There, he convinced Monroe to sing a couple of songs with him. Monroe hired him on the spot.
During his tenure with Monroe (1949-54), Martin helped change the sound of bluegrass music. His aggressive rhythm guitar added a fierce drive to his mentor's music and Martin's strong, high vocal range pushed Monroe's tenor up into the sky, creating what has become known as the "high lonesome" sound. Together they recorded such classics as "The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake", "Uncle Pen", "A Voice From On High", "Sitting Alone in the Moonlight", "I'm Blue", "I'm Lonesome", "Walking in Jerusalem", and countless others.
Martin then went on to have a successful solo career as Jimmy Martin & the Sunny Mountain Boys, cutting 136 sides and a number of hits for Decca Records, including "Widowmaker", "Sunny Side of the Mountain", "Freeborn Man", "Ocean of Diamonds", "Rock Hearts", "Hit Parade of Love", "Don't Cry to Me", "Tennessee" and others. He and his band were cast members of KWKH's Louisiana Hayride and then the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree in West Virginia.
In 1972 Martin joined a parade of stars, including Roy Acuff, Earl Scruggs, Mother Maybelle Carter, Merle Travis, and Doc Watson, to record a three record album, Will the Circle be Unbroken, with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Martin sang the "Grand Ole Opry Song", "Losing You", "Sunny Side of the Mountain", "My Walking Shoes", and "You Don't Don't My Mind". The album went on to become a Gold Record.
Martin landed numerous hits on the country charts, won songwriter and vocalist awards, and in 1995 was made a member of the International Bluegrass Hall of Honor. In the late 1990s, Bear Family Records released a 5-CD box set of Martin's Decca recordings. Most recently Martin was the subject of an independently produced documentary entitled "King of Bluegrass: The Life and Times of Jimmy Martin", which was accompanied by a companion CD of rare live recordings of Martin, entitled Don't Cry to Me.
Survivors include three sons, Timmy Martin of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Ray Martin of Mt. Juliet and Buddy Lee Martin of Miami; a daughter Lisa Arnold of Hendersonville; and ten grandchildren.
More information about Jimmy Martin's music and life can be found at http://www.jimmymartin.org and http://www.kingofbluegrass.com.
Bogner Amplification Unveils the Oxford Fuzz and Lyndhurst Compressor
The Killer Queens Join Comedy Central’s Colossal Clusterfest to Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Wayne’s World
Sven Pipien of The Black Crowes Unveils Debut Album and Tour For New Band The Magpie Salute
Play Roland’s SPD::ONE Percussion Pads with Drumsticks, Hands or Feet
Sonokinetic Maximo Powerful Orchestral Sample Library Flash Sale: 33% Off
Novation Updates the Circuit Firmware to v1.5 with Requested Features
Mike Finnigan - My Favorite Organ Settings
RETRO AD REPRINT - Roland Jupiter-8 (1981)
Chick Corea Answers YOUR Questions!
Dan Auerbach Premieres “Waiting On a Song” Music Video
Are These the Top 10 Guitar Harmonies of All Time?
Watch Steve Vai Perform Led Zeppelin Classics with Zepparella
KLANG:fabrik Gets Inside The Heads Of Linkin Park
L-Acoustics ARCS WiFo Finds Favor With DC/Baltimore-Area Churches
Sully Meets the Challenges for RHCP with Rat Sound and L-Acoustics
Hear "Lady B. Goode," Chuck Berry's New Sequel to "Johnny B. Goode"
Review: Elektron Analog Drive Pedal
David Coverdale: I Feel Sorry for Jimmy Page Not Being Able to Reunite Led Zeppelin
Copyright ©2017 by NewBay Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 28 East 28th Street, 12th floor, New York, NY 10016 T (212) 378-0400 F (212) 378-0470