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Jimmy Martin: A Superb Artist

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Born in Sneedville, Tennessee, Jimmy Martin, an American bluegrass musician, was known as the “King of Bluegrass” and was lead vocalist for “Bluegrass Boys” by Bill Monroe. The latter together with Martin joined their tenor and high voice respectively to be known as the “high lonesome” sound. Certainly, Martin had a great influence over Monroe’s music to change from the fast-paced to smooth style of the 1945 band with Flatt and Scruggs.

This band was composed of Rudy Lyle and Charlie Cline, who gave prominence to Monroe’s career. Besides, their most popular songs include “Memories of Mother and Dad”, “Sitting Alone in the Moonlight,” and "I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome”. Unfortunately, Martin and Monroe could not continue working together because they constantly had conflicts due to their strong and stubborn character. Before this situation, Martin decided to join Osborne Brothers until he had his own band, “The Sunny Mountain Boys” in 1955. Thanks to the collaboration of J. D. Crowe and Paul Williams, this band adopted a “Good ‘n Country” style. Some of his biggest hits during the 60’s are “Sophronie”, “Stepping Stones”, “Hit Parade of Love”, and “Widow Maker”.

Due to his problems with alcohol and explosive behavioral changes, he was never invited to join the Grand Ole Opry, which was one of his life dreams. He then entered the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor in 1995 and King of Bluegrass: The Life and Times of Jimmy Martin, a documentary based on his life was released in 2003. He finally died because of a bladder cancer.

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