October 19,1989: The Father Of Bluegrass Comes To Town

Wednesday, October 6, 2021
Nine days before his 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry, the father of bluegrass music, Bill Monroe, was on stage at the Doniphan Armory, much to the delight of about 600 fans. Monroe is pictured at left on the night of the performance with his trademark 1923 Gibson mandolin. Opening the show was a youthful local group already gaining much attention at the time - the Bob Lewis Family Band. Monroe played the songs the fans came to hear including ‘Uncle Pen’ and ‘Blue Moon Of Kentucky,’ which had already become the state song of his native Kentucky. Several gospel classics featuring Monroe and his band singing as a quartet also were crowd-pleasers. The 78-year-old performer was very personable and visited with fans at every opportunity, according to a P-N reporter. His band, the Bluegrass Boys, gave starts to many notable musicians including Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. Monroe was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1970 and the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 as an early influence. He passed away in 1996 four days before his 85th birthday.
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