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Byard Ray

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Red Smiley

Bluegrass guitarist

Madison County, NC

Arthur Lee "Red" Smiley, an influential bluegrass rhythm guitarist and singer, was born in Marshall in 1927, and absorbed traditional mountain music growing up. Musician and scholar Bascom Lamar Lunsford was a family friend. By his early teens Smiley was playing music, performing on WROL out of Knoxville.

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Sam Queen

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Byard Ray

Old-time musician

Madison County, NC

Byard Sneed Ray was born in 1910 in Sodom Laurel, a section of Madison County that has been home to a great many legendary musicians. Ray's parents, Rila and Champ, both played the fiddle and banjo, sang, and told stories. Like so many fiddlers, Byard Ray first learned to fiddle by sneaking his parent's (in this case his mother's) instrument away when no one was looking, and sawing at it until he learned to "tease a tune out," as he said. By the time older family members decided that Byard was ready for his first fiddle lesson, he already knew a great deal more than they realized.

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Dellie Norton

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Morris Brothers

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Marcus Martin

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J.E. and Wade Mainer

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Bascom Lamar Lunsford

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Bill Hensley

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