That line comes from the first song on Damn Right, Rebel Proud , due out Oct. 21st, ‘The Grand Ole Opry’:
(if you haven’t heard or seen it before)
So who was Jimmy Martin? Well, if you want to read a full bio you can click here but he was one of the old time bluegrass players who proclaimed himself the ‘King of Bluegrass’, that’s where Hank III’s ‘king’ reference comes from.
But you might be wondering, would this oldtimer who died in 2005 really tell the Opry that, or is Hank III just embellishing stuff to be funny? I’ve been a fan of Jimmy Martin’s music for years, but never knew much about the man. I couldn’t imagine this old dude that sang gospel as well as bluegrass would say such a thing. But then I saw this:
Fire brand, funny ass old coot. My kind of country hero.
This is one of my favorite bluegrass licks and one of Jimmy Martin’s hits. There’s are newer versions I like better but this is the original:
One of Jimmy Martin’s stamps was having a snare in the band, and it was usually played by his son Jimmy Martin, Jr.
Jimmy Martin played on the Grand Ole Opry many times, but was never inducted as a member. He had a hell of a temper as you get a little taste of in that first video, and he had a taste for liquor. As time went on he grew resentful to the Opry for never officially inducting him. Then bitterness turned to anger.
I have some issue with calling Jimmy Martin the King of Bluegrass, simply because Bill Monroe was the dude that invented the term ‘bluegrass’ and was playing it for years before Jimmy Martin ever hit the scene. In fact Jimmy Martin got his break playing in Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys.
But weather he’s the king or not, he’s yet another country music legend slighted by the Grand Ole Opry; another country hero that died without getting his due from the country music mother church.
Has the Opry sinned?
One more thing. Hank III’s EXCELLENT flat picker Andy Gibson now has a MySpace site. Not only is he an amazing steel guitar player, he also helped .357 String Band, Bob Wayne, and others record their albums. So do me a favor an add him, and then send him a message or leave him a comment and let him know we appreciate all he’s done for REAL country music.