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Shoot That Turkey Buzzard, plus
Wade Mainer





























































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About the video

David Holt Interviews old time banjo player Wade Mainer about his life and
innovative two finger banjo style. They play tunes "Shoot that Turkey Buzzard,
Lonesome Road Blues, Run Mountain.


About the artists

Banjoist/singer Wade Mainer was an influential figure whose innovative
two-fingered picking technique expanded the traditional clawhammer style and
helped pave the way for the three-finger virtuosity of modern bluegrass players
like Earl Scruggs. Mainer was born in 1907 and raised on his family's small
mountain farm near Weaverville, NC, where he was inspired to try his hand at
traditional mountain music by his brother-in-law, fiddler Roscoe Banks. After
moving to Concord to work in a cotton mill, he began performing with his brother
J.E. Mainer's group the Mountaineers, playing frequent gigs on local radio and
appearing on some of their classic recordings. In 1936, he left to form a
short-lived duo with bandmate Zeke Morris, and put together his own band the
following year. Dubbed the Sons of the Mountaineers, their initial lineup featured
guitarists Jay Hugh Hall and Clyde Moody, and fiddler Steve Ledford. Also in
1937, Mainer married singer Julia Brown, who performed under the name Hillbilly
Lilly. He and his group recorded for Bluebird through 1941, and are best
remembered for 1939's "Sparkling Blue Eyes"; personnel changes brought in
other members like Jack and Curly Shelton, Tiny Dodson, Red Rector, and Fred
Smith, among others.

World War II curtailed Mainer's musical activities quite a bit, partly because he
couldn't afford to use gasoline rations to travel to radio stations. He and a
version of the Sons of the Mountaineers did perform at the White House in 1942,
and following the war, Mainer reorganized the group. By this time, however,
traditional mountain music was becoming passé, and recording opportunities
came only sporadically. In 1953, Mainer renewed his commitment to Christianity
and retired from the music business; he and Julia moved to Flint, MI, where he
worked at an automobile plant. In the meantime, he returned to recording (for
King) with his wife in 1961, when Molly O'Day convinced him that the banjo was a
perfectly acceptable instrument in gospel music. He recorded occasionally
through the '60s, and after retiring from the auto industry in the early '70s, he
entered the studio more often. He issued a series of albums on the Old
Homestead label spanning from the late '70s to the early '90s, and also played
at several bluegrass and folk festivals, mostly around Michigan. In 1987, he
received the Nation Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the
Arts. ~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide