Country, Western & Gospel Music

A History And Encyclopedia Of Composers, Artists & Songs

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Elizabeth College, he became restless and served with the Somerset Yeomanry regiment of the British army for three and a half years. Thrown by a horse, he was deafened in his right ear, but says his left ear is now supersensitive, "like a microphone." He came to this country when he was twenty-two years old, and he got a job working in a fac­tory, at Grafton, Wisconsin. When the firm went into the business of manufacturing phonographs and records, Sather­ley was placed in charge of production. In 1925 he got tired of checking production sheets in an office, and asked to be transferred to an out-of-doors job, and ever since he has been traveling eleven months of the year in search of new folk music. In 1930 he discovered Gene Autry, a boy from Tioga, Texas, who was working as a railroad telegrapher near Ardmore, Oklahoma. In six months, Satherley made a national idol of Autry, and he has never been equaled in popularity in hillbilly circles.
Satherley discovered and recorded the cowboy music of United States Sen. W. Lee O'Daniel in the not-so-bygone days when O'Daniel was the conductor of a band called The Light Crust Doughboys and played such tunes as Please Pass the Biscuits, Pappy; Dirty Hang-over Blues; Peach-Pickin' Time in Georgia; There's Evil in Ye Children.
He found Roy Acuff, today the most sensational per­sonality in hillbilly music, in Nashville in 1938. Acuff is a quiet, shy person, who looks ten years younger than his thirty-nine years. He is married, and the father of a year-old son. He lives on a 150-acre farm about twelve miles out of Nashville. His income in 1943 was more than $200,000.
Like the pure hillbilly singer, Acuff hardly moves a muscle in his face when he sings. He sings mainly with his eyes closed, and now and then, as he feels a note deeply, tears will roll down his face.
In October, 1943, Acuff's program went on a coast-to-coast hookup of 129 stations, and to celebrate the event a party was given at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, where the Grand Old Opry is performed to a regular Satur­day night audience of 3,500 who pay seventy-five cents ad­mission. Gov. Prentice Cooper was invited to grace the stage as guest of honor. Governor Cooper declined, stating that he would be no party to a "circus," and that Acuff was