50s Country/Hillbilly ArtistsView All
Chester Burton Atkins (June 20, 1924 – June 30, 2001), known as “Mr. Guitar” and “The Country Gentleman”, was an American musician, occasional vocalist, songwriter, and record producer, who along with Owen Bradley and Bob Ferguson, among others, created the country music style that came to be known as the Nashville sound, which expanded country music’s appeal to adult pop music fans. He was primarily known as a guitarist. He also played the mandolin, fiddle, banjo, and ukulele.
Gerald Lester “Jerry” Byrd (March 9, 1920 – April 11, 2005), was an American musician who played the lap steel guitar in country and Hawaiian music, as well as a singer-songwriter and the head of a music publishing firm, he appeared on numerous radio programs.
Ray Campi was born in Yonkers, New York. After his family moved to Austin, Texas in 1944, Campi began a lifetime of performing and recording music in numerous American genres, including folk, country, and rock and roll as well as rockabilly. Early on he recorded on Domino Records. In the 1950s Ray Campi recorded for several labels, including Dot Records, and recorded the first tribute record to the 1959 Buddy Holly plane crash, ‘The Ballad of Donna and Peggy Sue’, backed by the Big Bopper’s band. He also worked with many of the most prominent pioneers of rock and roll music, including Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, and Gene Vincent.
Hank Cochran and Eddie Cochran, not related, both rose to international prominence in music – Hank Cochran in Country Music and Eddie Cochran in Rock and Roll. Their success as solo artists did not come overnight, though. Before that, Hank and Eddie joined forces in 1954 when they were only teenagers, Hank 19 and Eddie 16, but as the Cochran Brothers they made their very first professional steps in music. And they did so with some success; the Cochran Brothers recorded professionally for EKKO and CASH RECORDS, toured extensively along the west coast and were featured regularly on regional TV with the popular artists of the day.
George Glenn Jones (September 12, 1931 – April 26, 2013) was an American musician, singer and songwriter. He achieved international fame for his long list of hit records, including his best known song “He Stopped Loving Her Today”, as well as his distinctive voice and phrasing. For the last 20 years of his life, Jones was frequently referred to as the greatest living country singer. Country music scholar Bill C. Malone writes, “For the two or three minutes consumed by a song, Jones immerses himself so completely in its lyrics, and in the mood it conveys, that the listener can scarcely avoid becoming similarly involved.”
Texas honky-tonk singer Frankie Miller enjoyed a string of hits for STARDAY in the ’50s and ’60s. Nearly a decade before those classic recordings, Frankie was drafted into the Army. He gave up a blossoming music career and went off to fight in Korea. Frankie bought a guitar while on leave in Seoul and taped a letter for the folks back in Texas, singing samples of the latest songs he had written while far from home.
Billy Mize (Born William Robert Mize on April 29, 1929 in Arkansas City, Kansas) is a steel guitarist, band leader, vocalist, songwriter, and TV show host. Mize was raised in the San Joaquin Valley of California, an area steeped in country music thanks to relocated Okies. He originally learned to play guitar as a child, but fell in love with the steel guitar he received for his 18th birthday.
William Smith Monroe (September 13, 1911 – September 9, 1996) was an American mandolinist, singer, and songwriter who created the style of music known as bluegrass. The genre takes its name from his band, the Blue Grass Boys, named for Monroe’s home state of Kentucky. Monroe’s performing career spanned 69 years as a singer, instrumentalist, composer and bandleader. He is often referred to as the Father of Bluegrass.