Jones, Grandpa [Louis Marshall ]
- Charles K. Wolfe
- , revised by Clay Motley
[Louis Marshall ]
(b Niagra, KY, Oct 20, 1913; d Nashville, TN, Feb 19, 1998). American country music singer, guitarist, and banjoist. During a professional career lasting almost 70 years, Grandpa Jones remained an energetic and popular country musician who self-consciously practiced older, traditional country and gospel music and country comedy. The son of a Kentucky sharecropper, he began his professional singing career in Akron, Ohio in 1929, performing with a number of local groups that appealed to the area’s transplanted southerners. In the 1930s, he gained the nickname “Grandpa,” owing to his high-pitched, peevish on-air voice, and began wearing spectacles and a false mustache, in keeping with a tradition of country performers purposely donning rustic costumes and adopting personaes to match their music.
In the 1940s, at Cincinnati radio station WLW, he met Merle Travis and the Delmore Brothers; together, they formed one of country music’s most popular gospel quartets, the Brown’s Ferry Four. Travis and Jones became the first singers to record for Cincinnati’s King label in ...