Final Notes, Jimmy Martin

The great bluegrass guitarist and singer Jimmy Martin died on May 14, after a long struggle with cancer. He was 77. One of the Blue Grass Boys, Martin also recorded with the Osborne Brothers and worked and recorded with his own band, the Sunny Mountain Boys, touring the world of bluegrass festivals and venues in his battered bus, “the Widow Maker.” He also recorded with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on their Will the Circle records, bridging the world of Nashville with that of a larger, younger audience. The stories about Martin are too numerous to recount, but Marty Stuart’s comment makes a fitting epitaph: “He dared to be different, and he’s paid the price for it.” Jimmy erected his own tombstone years before his death. It stands in Spring Hill Cemetery in the Nashville suburb of Madison, Tennessee, and bears the inscription “Now Sings in Heaven.”

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