Eddie Adcock

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Eddie Adcock
Background information
Born (1938-06-21) June 21, 1938 (age 79)
Origin Scottsville, Virginia, United States
Genres Bluegrass
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Banjo
Years active 1953–present

Eddie Adcock (born June 21, 1938 in Scottsville, Virginia)[1] is an iconic American banjoist and guitarist, and one of the most innovative players ever to have put his stamp on bluegrass music.

His professional career as a 5-string banjoist began in 1953 when he joined Smokey Graves & His Blue Star Boys, who had a regular show at a radio station in Crewe, Virginia. Between 1953-57, he floated between different bands. Bill Monroe offered a job to Adcock in 1957, and he played with the Blue Grass Boys until he could no longer survive because the band simply wasn't earning enough money to keep him. Adcock returned to working day jobs, but that was short-lived. After he started working in a sheet metal factory, Jim Cox, John Duffey, and Charlie Waller asked him to join their new band, The Country Gentlemen.[2]

Adcock performs almost exclusively with his wife Martha and calls Lebanon, Tennessee his home. Eddie belongs to a number of business organizations, including IBMA and the Folk Alliance. He has served on the Board of Directors of the IBMA, Tennessee Banjo Institute and others. For a number of years he and Martha also founded and ran Adcock Audio, a large, state-of-the-art sound company, until 2006.[citation needed]

Early years[edit]

He bought his first banjo as a child and began performing with his brother Frank shortly afterward. The duo would sing in local churches and radio stations based in the nearby Charlottesville. He left home when he was 14 years old and supported himself through semi-professional boxing. For the next seven years, he boxed and played music at nights. A few years later, he began racing cars. As a racer, Adcock racked up 34 straight wins with his car, which he named Mr. Banjo; he also had set two track records at Manassas, Virginia. He also performed various blue-collar jobs to pay the rent. All the time, he played music at night.[3]

With the Country Gentlemen[edit]

The Country Gentlemen originated in Washington, D.C.. The band’s original members were Charlie Waller on guitar and lead vocals, John Duffey on mandolin and tenor vocals, Bill Emerson on banjo and baritone vocals, and Larry Lahey on bass. Soon after Adcock's arrival the band settled into a somewhat permanent lineup consisting of Waller, Duffey, Eddie Adcock on banjo, and Tom Gray on bass.[citation needed] During his tenure with the Country Gentlemen, Adcock adapted "Travis-style" guitar finger picking and pedal steel guitar playing to the banjo, which remain unique innovations on the instrument. In addition, his driving, percussive and jazz-based single-string licks, which resemble Don Reno's single-string work in the early `60s, were at the heart of the group's "chamber music" bluegrass instrumental style, as developed in the interplay between Duffey's jazzy mandolin licks, Waller's syncopated guitar picking and Adcock's innovations. The Country Gentlemen's style and repertoire fundamentally changed bluegrass, and the group was arguably the first New Grass band and the forerunner of modern bluegrass as a whole.

Then Eddie met Martha[edit]

In 1970 Eddie quit The Country Gentlemen and moved to California, where he formed a country-rock band called The Clinton Special. While he performed with the group he used the pseudonym Clinton Codack. The band recorded only one single, "Just as You Are I Love You"/"Blackberry Fence", released on MGM Records. In 1973 he met Martha Hearon[4] whom he would marry three years later. They have remained partners in music and life for over three decades. The dynamic duo of Eddie and Martha Adcock has become known as “the biggest little band in Bluegrass”. Cashbox magazine and Billboard magazine have both named them “one of the Bluegrass circuit's top acts”. After also performing a number of shows with Adcock-Gaudreau-Waller & Gray: (The Country Gentlemen Reunion Band), Eddie and Martha now concentrate on performing as a duo as well as playing some concerts with Tom Gray, and on producing themselves and others both outside and in-house at their own SunFall Studio.[citation needed]

Eddie and Martha AKA The Adcocks have appeared on Austin City Limits, Ernest Tubb's Midnite Jamboree, TNN's 'Nashville Now' and Wildhorse Saloon, Grassroots To Bluegrass, and a host of NPR specials, as well as syndicated, Internet, and local TV and radio shows worldwide. Their video Dog aired on TNN, CMT, and CNN.[citation needed]


In October 2008, concerns about hand-tremors, which could have compromised his performing career, led to Eddie having deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. A local anesthetic having been used during the surgery, he remained conscious and able to play banjo during the procedure in order to check the effectiveness of the treatment in progress.[5]


  1. ^ Profile (with date and place of birth), bioandlyrics.com; accessed October 30, 2015.
  2. ^ Eddie Adcock profile, answers.com; accessed October 30, 2015.
  3. ^ Eddie Adcock profile, answers.com; accessed October 30, 2015.
  4. ^ Profile, CMT.com; accessed October 30, 2015.
  5. ^ Profile, BBC.co.uk; accessed October 30, 2015.