Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Clayton McMichen


Howdy, Howdy Howdy,

The next several blogs will feature Clayton McMichen, the lead fiddler for the Skillet Lickers and Georgia Wildcats. Here's a photo of Clayton when he appeared on Pittsburgh's KDKA radio in 1932 (Click to enlarge)

I'm writing an article for the Old-Time Herald and I'll feature excerpts and new facts about his life and the musicians he encountered.

I've interviewed Slim Bryant, the Georgia Wildcats first guitarist, and Juanita McMichen Lynch, his daughter. I think I have most of the facts right but some details may never be fathomed.

Fiddler of the Century
Bob Everhart, President of the National Traditional Country Music Association bestowed a new award on the fiddler from Georgia. "We just finished our 34th festival of old-time music in LeMars, Iowa," said Everhart, "and Juanita McMichen was on hand to accept the proclamation we made, making her father the "Fiddler of the Century" for our upper Midwest area. Clayton McMichen was an incredible fiddler."

Mac's Influence
The number of musicians Mac played with and influenced are enormous. Beside the long list of talented musicians in his main bands, the Skillet Lickers and Georgia Wildcats, McMichen recorded with country music's first superstar Jimmie Rodgers. There are a host of fiddler's indebted to McMichen- the short list includes Carl Cotner, Cliff Gross, Curly Fox, Chubby Wise, and Bob Wills. Two of the best country guitarists got their start with Mac- Slim Bryant and Merle Travis. The first concert Ralph Stanley saw as a young man was Clayton McMichen's Georgia Wildcats, who shared the bill with The Delmore Brothers.

More to come,
Richard