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Roy Acuff

AKA: Roy Acuff & His Smoky Mountain Boys and Roy Acuff & His Crazy Tennesseans

About Roy Acuff

Roy Claxton Acuff (15 September 1903 – 23 November 1992) was an American country music singer and fiddler. He’s often referred to as the “King of Country Music”, Acuff was credited with moving country music from its early string band and “hoedown” format to a lead singer-based format. Acuff followed Jimmie Rodgers in that focus on the lead vocal, matched to a sparse, simple melody.

In 1938, Acuff moved to Nashville and within a year his band, the Smokey Mountain Boys, won a recording contract. Acuff’s vocals and Beecher (Pete) Kirby’s dobro playing and high-pitched backing vocals gave the band its distinctive sound. By 1940, the band was the Grand Ole Opry’s biggest act.

Acuff became one of the most influential country musicians of all time. Hank Williams Sr and George Jones named him as a major influencer on their music. In 1962, he became the first living performer to be inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Before his death, he was also awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and the Kennedy Center Honors.

If any performer embodied the sound of classic country music it was Roy Acuff, and he was a champion for traditional country values. Generations of artists, from Hank Williams to George Jones to Johnny Cash were influenced by Acuff.

Acuff’s advice to country singers?

Don’t be a blueprint. Be an original.“

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