Buddy Davis, a seventh-generation descendant of settlers of Madison County, enjoyed a long and varied musical career. As a child he begged his parents for a guitar, and when he had one, learned to play it by watching Lester Flatt’s fingers when Flatt and Scruggs appeared on television. At the age of fourteen, Davis was hired as a bass player, and proceeded to learn the instrument as he went along. That he had a knack for music is evident, and was showcased over an extensive professional musical career.
During the 1980s, Davis was a railroad police officer, and for seven years he played in the band, The Southern Lawmen, sponsored by the Norfolk-Southern Railroad. He appeared on country music television features many times, including appearances with Roy Clark on Hee-Haw, and had a long run as co-producer of the series Fire on the Mountain. Davis played bass for a time in Doc Watson‘s band, and was nominated for a Grammy with Watson. He has also recorded extensively, including with Madison County ballad singer Lena Jean Ray, with the Marc Pruett Band, and with Doc and Merle Watson and Jerry Douglas on David Holt‘s record, Reel and Rock.
Davis played many kinds of music along the classic country, bluegrass, and old time spectrum. He played in The Bailey Mountain Trio with fellow Madison County native Roger Howell; fronted his own band, playing a vast variety of American music; and performed at major Folk Festivals with his daughters and granddaughter.
Buddy Davis received the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Award in 2000, in recognition of his significant contributions to traditional music.
Buddy Davis passed away February 26, 2023 at the age of seventy-four.