Gloria Belle

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Gloria Belle
Occupation(s)Performance artist
InstrumentsVocals, banjo, bass, and mandolin
Years active1957-Present

Gloria Belle (Flickinger) is a bluegrass vocalist and instrumentalist, playing the banjo, bass, and mandolin. She was probably the first female lead singer in bluegrass, having begun her music career as early as 1957.[1]

Early career[edit]

While not a native of the area, Belle's early career centered on east Tennessee and western North Carolina. She was a performer on the Cas Walker show in Knoxville, Tennessee, in the early 1960s, beginning that position in September 1960. In 1965, she played with Raymond Fairchild in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, at the Ghost Town in the Sky. The next year, she made regular appearances on the Wheeling Jamboree in West Virginia, performing with Betty Amos's All-Girl Band. Most notably, she performed as a member of Jimmy Martin's Sunny Mountain Boys during 1968–1975. With Jimmy, she sang lead and high baritone on multiple recordings, as well as played bass. She later toured the festival circuit with Charlie Monroe in 1973. She toured Japan with Martin during 1975.[2] In regards to her playing, Martin said jokingly, "She’s not very good, but we let her sing with us ‘cause we feel sorry for her."[3]

Awards and distinctions[edit]

In 1999, Belle was presented the Distinguished Achievement Award by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) and became one of the few females to ever earn that award. In 2001 she also received an IBMA award for Recorded Event of the Year for Follow Me Back To the Fold: A Tribute to Women in Bluegrass.[2] Another IBMA award came in 2009 through her work with the Daughters of Bluegrass. She received a Recorded Event of the Year award with this group for "Proud to be a Daughter of Bluegrass."[4] Currently, she fronts the band Tennessee Sunshine, which she formed in 1990. She married guitar luthier Mike Long of Mike Long Guitars on September 23, 1989. They reside in Nashville, Tennessee.[5]


Solo albums[edit]

  • 1968: Sings and Plays Bluegrass in the Country (Rebel R-1479)
  • 1978: A Good Hearted Woman (Southern Belle SB-51978)
  • 1986: The Love Of The Mountains (Webco WLPS-0122)

Gloria Belle and Tennessee Sunshine[edit]

  • 1992: Living the Right Life Now (Southern Belle SB-110892)
  • 1993: Dixieland for Me (Atteiram API-CD-1689)
  • 1996: unknown title (Southern Belle SB-6996)
  • 2000: He Leadeth Me (Southern Belle SB-6900)
  • 2001: Let My Life Be a Light (Southern Belle SB-6901)

Also appears on[edit]


  1. ^ Goldsmith, Thomas. The Bluegrass Reader. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004. p. 285.
  2. ^ a b "TranAgent Company. "Bio." 2007". Archived from the original on 2009-12-21. Retrieved 2011-09-30.
  3. ^ Artis, Bob. Bluegrass: from the lonesome wail of a mountain love song to the hammering drive of the Scruggs-style banjo, the story of an American musical tradition. New York: Hawthorn Books, 1975. p. 73
  4. ^ "International Bluegrass Music Association. "Past International Bluegrass Music Award Recipients." International Bluegrass Music Association. 2010". 2006-03-24. Archived from the original on 2011-10-04. Retrieved 2011-09-30.
  5. ^ "TranAgent Company. "Band." 2007". 1989-09-23. Retrieved 2011-09-30.

External links[edit]