Bob grew up in Micaville in Yancey County surrounded by the music of his family and community, and started playing and signing as a young boy. “I could sing songs before I could talk,” he said. His parents were from Asheville and Booneford. Both of Bob’s parents were musical, and his grandfather, aunts, and uncles all played music. His father played guitar until he lost his hand in an accident, after which he started playing harmonica. Mary Martha Lominac, his mother, learned to play drop-thumb clawhammer banjo by the age of five, and she also played fiddle, guitar, and piano. “Mom could play anything that could make music,” said Bob. Bob inherited her fiddle, which he played occasionally.
By the age of eight, Bob was playing guitar, and he and his three brothers often played together. Over the years, Bob traveled and played with many musicians in a variety of styles including gospel, country, bluegrass, and old-time. He played some songs that he remembered his mother playing when he was young, such as “Down Yonder” and “Alabama Jubilee.” Growing up, Bob played frequently for local Farmers Federation picnics and on the Carolina Barn Dance, which was broadcast out of Spruce Pine. He was very involved with mountain music in Mitchell, Avery, McDowell, Yancey, and Burke counties.
His work in instrumentation, engineering, and design took him all over the country. He lived in Louisiana, Michigan, and Alaska, and he continued playing music the entire time. He played in small local venues that ranged from schools and fire departments to nursing and retirement homes and churches. In addition, he did other work such as recording the soundtrack for a documentary produced for the British Broadcasting Company and playing shows with Hank Snow and Merle Travis.
For years, Bob led a group called the Boys From Mitchell County with Mike Hodge and Charles Pendley. The group performed country, bluegrass, and gospel music at Young’s Mountain Music and other local and regional venues. Bob was also a songwriter. A song he wrote for the senior center in Yancey County, “I’ve Bin Everywhur,” which used local place-names in the lyrics, became a regional hit.
Bob Lominac passed away on March 27, 2019 at the age of 84.