January 14, 2021 Trivia Contest – Bluegrass Royalty Trivia

This Contest is Closed
The winner is Andy Bing


Bluegrass Royalty Trivia

Following is a list of bluegrass and/or country “royal” and other honorary titles. All have been legitimately assigned to certain bluegrass and country artists. Choose from the list of folks below, to match up with each royal or other honorary title:

Father of Blue Grass
King of Bluegrass
Queen of Bluegrass
King of the Carolina Dobro Pickers
Baron of Baltimore & the Duke(s) of Bluegrass
Baron of Bluegrass
King of the Strings
King of the Smokey Mountain 5-String Banjo Players
The First Family of Bluegrass Gospel
Doctor Banjo
The Chief

Roy Acuff
Ralph Stanley
Kitsy Kuykendall
Raymond Fairchild
Bill Monroe
Sonny Osborne
Earl Scruggs
The Carter Family
Dale Ann Bradley
Jimmy Martin
Jerry Douglas
Pete Wernick
Walt Hensley
Joe Maphis
Kitty Wells
Lester Flatt
Rhonda Vincent
Gene Wooten
Allison Krauss
The Lewis Family


Father = Bill Monroe

1.Father of Bluegrass = Bill Monroe
2.King of Bluegrass = Jimmy Martin
3.Queen of Bluegrass = Rhonda Vincent according to the Wall St Journal, but Kitsy Kuykendall (widow of Bluegrass Unlimited publisher Pete Kuykendall) is the Queen to many!
4.King of the Carolina Dobro Pickers = Gene Wooten
5.Duke(s) of Bluegrass = banjoist Walter Hensley and his band (he was sometimes also known as the Baron of Baltimore)
6.Baron of Bluegrass = Lester Flatt, according to his biographer Olan Bassham
7.King of the Strings = country picker Joe Maphis; his closest association with bluegrass is that he and his wife wrote Dim Lights Thick Smoke
8.King of the Smokey Mt. Banjo Pickers = Raymond Fairchild
9.The First Family of Bluegrass Gospel = The Lewis Family
10.Doctor Banjo = Pete Wernick of Hot Rize
11.The Chief = Sonny Osborne

Additional Bowden Comments

A few other “titles” we used to bestow on festival acts included:

The Uncle of Bluegrass: either Charlie Monroe (Bill’s brother) or Uncle Pen Vandiver

Son of Bluegrass: James Monroe

Count Sparkula: Larry Sparks

The Noise from Indiana: The Boys from Indiana

Del McMuffin & The Dixie Cups: Del McCoury & the Dixie Pals, according to my 3 year old son

Blobby and Scummy, the Obscene Brothers: The Osborne Bros.

Oh we were wise-asses then!

Some of the names in my list with the trivia question DID have royal titles.

Roy Acuff and Kitty Wells were the King and Queen of Country Music

The Carter Family were called The First Family of Country Music.

Although not listed, Jimmie Rodgers was the Father of Country Music.

Dick Bowden

Dick Bowden recently retired after a 45 year career in the paper industry, and moved from Connecticut to Big Indian NY (Ulster County) where he ekes out a precarious existence as a groundskeeper. Dick has been performing bluegrass music on banjo and guitar since 1966 in his home state of Maine, throughout New England, and internationally with The Case Brothers - Martin & Gibson. He has performed for HVBA with the Old Time Bluegrass Singers, and also sent in a squadron of Dick Bowden's Flying Circus. Most recently Dick has played Dobro (tm) with the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band. Dick has written many articles for Bluegrass Unlimited, Bluegrass Today, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass magazine) and HVBA.

5 Responses

  • Father of Bluegrass-Bill Monroe
    King of Bluegrass-Jimmy Martin
    Queen of Bluegrass-Rhonda Vincent
    King of the Carolina Dobro Pickers-Gene Wooten
    Baron of Baltimore/Dukes of Bluegrass-Walt Hensley
    Baron of Bluegrass-Lester Flatt
    King of the Strings-Joe Maphis
    King of Smokey Mtn 5-String…-Raymond Fairchild
    First Family of BG Gospel-Lewis Family
    Dr. Banjo-Pete Wernick
    Chief-Sonny Osborne

    For extra credit:The Mother of Bluegrass (Self-Proclaimed)-Bill Harrell

  • I’m humbled by the vast amount I don’t know. I think I can match four or five:
    Father of Bluegrass: Bill Monroe
    Doctor Banjo: Peter Wernick
    King of Bluegrass: Jimmy Martin?
    Queen of Bluegrass: Rhonda Vincent
    First Family of Bluegrass Gospel: Carter Family

    and two of these are guesses.

  • Bill Harrell the Mother of Bluegrass???????? I don’t doubt it was self-proclaimed.

    Mike, thanks for playing! I like anybody’s willingness to guess!

  • Let me add one more “title” that I’ve always loved. Earl Scruggs never really garnered a popular “title”. But this is how Lester Flatt introduced him for many years: “The banjo-playingest feller ever come through this part of the country.”

  • Bill Harrell would announce from the stage at bluegrass festivals I attended that he was the mother of bluegrass. His claim was undisputed so far as I can determine. These were family shows so I am sure he did not mean anything untoward.

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