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Ernest Stoneman

May 25, 1893 – June 14, 1968

Believing he could outdo fellow Virginian Henry Whitter, Ernest “Pop” Stoneman went north to New York City in 1924 to record “The Ship That Never Returned/The Titanic” for Okeh. Accompanying himself on autoharp and harmonica (although he was also known as a guitar player, and is said to have taught Tony Alderman of the Hill Billies the fiddle), Stoneman proved his point. His musical fortunes would run high through the 1920s. Even at the legendary Bristol, Tennessee sessions of 1927, Stoneman cut more masters than the Carter Family or Jimmie Rodgers, whose fame would soon outstrip his own. With the Depression came hard times, as record sales dropped across the board, and Stoneman moved his growing family to Washington, D.C. He odd-jobbed as a carpenter and eventually found work in a munitions plant, his family enduring great poverty. By the late 1940s he began performing again, this time with his family, and in the 1950s and 60s, the Stonemans became a popular country group, releasing many records and hosting their own television show, and continuing the tradition started by “Pop,” who died in 1968.

Adapted from:

Brennan, Sandra. “Ernest V. Stoneman.” All Music Guide. June 14, 2004. www.allmusic.com.

Brennan, Sandra. “The Stonemans.” All Music Guide. June 14, 2004. www.allmusic.com.

Tribe, Ivan M. “Ernest Stoneman.” The Encyclopedia of Country Music. ed. Paul Kingsbury. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998, 511-512.

Tribe, Ivan M. “The Stoneman Family.” The Encyclopedia of Country Music. ed. Paul Kingsbury. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998, 512.

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