GRANDPA JONES Biography - Musicians


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Name: Louis Marshall Jones                                                               
Born: 20 October 1913                                                                   
Died: 19 February 1998                                                                   
Louis Marshall "Grandpa" Jones (born October 20, 1913 in Niagara, Kentucky -             
February 19, 1998) was an American banjo player and "old time" country and               
gospel music singer.                                                                     
Jones spent his teenage years in Akron, Ohio where he began singing country             
music tunes on a local radio show. By 1935 his pursuit of a musical career took         
him to WBZ (AM) radio in Boston, Massachusetts where he met musician/songwriter         
Bradley Kincaid who gave him the nickname "Grandpa" due to his off-stage                 
grumpiness at early-morning radio shows. Jones liked the name and decided to             
create a stage persona based around it.                                                 
Performing as "Grandpa Jones," he played the banjo, yodeled, and sang mostly old-time   
ballads. The vaudevillian humor was a bridge to television entertainment. Jones         
played a style of banjo called frailing, which gave it the rough back woods             
flavor of his performances. Some of his more famous songs include, "T is for             
Texas" and "Mountain Dew." He also wrote the song "Eight More Miles to                   
Louisville". Moving to Nashville, Tennessee, he became part of the Grand Ole             
Opry and was a regular cast member on the popular TV show, Hee Haw.                     
Jones was one of the most popular cast members of the long-running Hee Haw. A           
favorite skit had off-camera cast members asking "Hey Grandpa, what's for supper?"       
to which he'd describe either a delicious, country-style meal ("Buttermilk               
biscuits smothered in chicken gravy, home-fried potatoes, collard greens and             
Grandmother's fresh-baked blueberry pie à la mode!" and the cast would reply, "Yum,     
yum!") or, more often than not, something terrible ("Because you were bad,               
thawed out TV dinners!" at which the cast would scoff, "Yuck!"). A running gag           
was that the window he was pretending to polish in this skit had no glass, and           
that Jones would slip his fingers through the empty panes. Jones also joined             
castmates Buck Owens, Roy Clark and Kenny Price with a gospel segment at the end         
of each show.                                                                           
A resident of rural Ridgetop, Tennessee outside of Nashville, he was a neighbor         
and friend of fellow musician David "Stringbean" Akeman. On the morning of               
November 11, 1973, Jones discovered the bodies of Akeman and his wife who had           
been murdered during the night by robbers.                                               
In 1978 Grandpa Jones was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. An               
autobiography of him, Everybody's Grandpa: Fifty Years Behind The Mike was               
published in 1984 (with assistance from Charles K. Wolfe).                               
In January of 1998, he suffered a stroke after his second show performance at           
the Grand Ole Opry and died a few weeks later. He is interred in the Luton               
Memorial Methodist Church cemetery in Nashville.