Roy Acuff is responsible for not only some of the genre’s foundational recordings, but for helping to put Nashville on the map as a star of the Grand Ole Opry, a music publishing tycoon, and even a candidate for governor of Tennessee.
Not bad for a middle child from rural Tennessee, the son of a prominent family from the small town of Maynardville. Though both of his parents were skilled musicians, his passion was baseball, and he got as far as minor league tryouts before sunstroke ended his budding career. He chose to hone his skills with the fiddle, and began performing around the south as part of a touring medicine show. Incorporating the southern gospel song, “Great Speckled Bird”, into his performances caught the attention of the record companies. By the end of the thirties, he had several hits and a Grand Ole Opry cast membership to his credit.