Many people that are Country Music history buffs like myself often argue one thing…just exactly WHO WAS Country Music’s First big star? Many quickly answer Hank Williams, or Roy Acuff..but I’ll be quite frank. In MY opinion it was a man from 1870 that graced the Opry stage in it’s total infancy, and his name was Mr. David Harrison Macon also known as Uncle Dave.
His charismatic stage shows and magnetic energy captivated audiences from the nation’s earliest beginnings when Country Music wasn’t even heard yet. His old time sound and authenticity rang true befoe Hank was even born, and Mr. Roy Acuff arrived on the Opry doorstep.
During the 1880s his parents bought a hotel in Nashville Tennessee, that was frequently used by many artists that inspired him to play the banjo. His father was murdered, and his widowed mother sold the hotel and moved him. In the 1920s he began to perform professionally and in 1927 he along with Mr. Sam and Mr. Kirk McGee formed the Fruit Jar Drinkers one of the Opry first bands.
Last year in the fall Mr. Michael Doubler from the University of Illinois became the author of this wonderful book that tells the tale of this gigantic man, and his music. From the liner notes:
One of the earliest performers on WSM in Nashville, Uncle Dave Macon became the Grand Ole Opry’s first superstar. His old-time music and energetic stage shows made him a national sensation and fueled a thirty-year run as one of America’s most beloved entertainers. Michael D. Doubler tells the amazing story of the Dixie Dewdrop, a country music icon.
Born in 1870, David Harrison Macon learned the banjo from musicians passing through his parents’ Nashville hotel. After playing local shows in Middle Tennessee for decades, a big break led Macon to Vaudeville, the earliest of his two hundred-plus recordings and eventually to national stardom.
Uncle Dave–clad in his trademark plug hat and gates-ajar collar–soon became the face of the Opry itself with his spirited singing, humor, and array of banjo picking styles. For the rest of his life, he defied age to tour and record prolifically, manage his business affairs, mentor up-and-comers like David “Stringbean” Akeman, and play with the Delmore Brothers, Roy Acuff, and Bill Monroe.
You can purchase this book Here