Uncle Dave Macon

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Uncle Dave Macon (* 7. October 1870 as David Harrison Macon in Smartt Station , Tennessee ; † 22. March 1952 in Readyville , Cannon County , Tennessee) was an American old-time musicians . He is considered the first professional star of the Grand Ole Opry .



Dave Macon's parents owned a small boarding house in Nashville , where frequent musicians stayed. Dave had many opportunities to watch their performances. After a short time he was able to play the banjo himself. Soon he mastered a variety of songs and styles. After his father was stabbed in front of the hotel, the family moved back to the country, where the mother ran a small rest stop. Dave took on the task of entertaining the guests of the stagecoaches with his banjo game.

He got married and started a small transport company. On weekends he played at festivals in the vicinity. His virtuoso playing and his comical interludes quickly made him known in a wide area. Before long, he was getting paid to perform.


The Bible's True, ca.1928

In the early twenties Macon gave up his transport company and, now over fifty years old, became a professional musician. Together with the fiddler Sid Harkreader he was hired by a Nashville theater. In 1924 the two recorded a few singles in New York. Its popularity grew steadily. In 1925 he first appeared on the WLS National Barn Dance radio show. This was followed by appearances in the Grand Ole Opry . The always cheerful, energetic old man almost instantly became the train number. He became the Opry's first big star.

Uncle Dave Macon remained associated with the Opry for decades. He continued to record regularly and touring, often with his son Dorris. He worked with leading country musicians of the time, such as the Delmore Brothers and Roy Acuff . In 1940 he starred in a Hollywood film about the Grand Ole Opry. Macon had a repertoire of several hundred songs. The content of his songs often related to current political and social events.

The thoroughbred musician Uncle Dave Macon died in 1952 at the age of 81, just three weeks after his last appearance in the Opry. In 1966 he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame .

Discography (albums)

  • 1971 - Uncle Dave Macon - Early Recordings (County)
  • 1976 - At Home (Bear Family)
  • 1979 - Laugh Your Blues Away (Rounder)
  • 1995 - Travellin 'Down The Road (County)

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