Pendleton Vandiver

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Pendleton Vandiver
Pendleton Vandiver.jpg
Background information
Birth nameJames Pendleton Vandiver
Also known asUncle Pen
Born1869
OriginButler County, Kentucky, US
Died1932
GenresOld-time music
Occupation(s)Old-time music artist and square dance musician
InstrumentsFiddle
Years active1920s – 1932

James Pendleton Vandiver (1869–1932) was a Kentucky fiddler, born there shortly after the American Civil War.[1] He was uncle to bluegrass musician Bill Monroe, who immortalized him in a song, "Uncle Pen".[2]

Monroe used to hear his uncle playing fiddle on the hilltop where he lived, while Monroe put away his mules at night.[1] He later said that Vandiver was "the fellow that I learned how to play from."[2] Vandiver played fiddle at local square dances and social events, and his nephew backed him up, playing mandolin.[1] Monroe's parents had both died by the time he was 16, and he lived part of the time with his Uncle Pen, in his two-room hilltop house in Rosine, Kentucky.[2] Vandiver had been crippled earlier, and he made some money with his music.[1] Bill Monroe's biographer, Richard D. Smith writes, "Pen gave Bill more: a repertoire of tunes that sank into Bill's aurally trained memory and a sense of rhythm that seeped into his bones. Sometimes Bill played guitar behind his uncle, sometimes the mandolin."[3]

On September 13, 1973, a monument in honor of Uncle Pen was unveiled by Monroe at the Rosine Cemetery.[4] Another way he honored Penn's memory was to play the part of "Uncle Penn" in Ricky Skaggs' Country Boy music video.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Woodside, Donice. "Uncle Pen". Retrieved January 6, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c Dawidoff, Nicholas, In the Country of Country (1997) p. 87
  3. ^ Smith, Richard D., Can't You Hear Me Callin': The Life of Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass, Chapter One online: New York Times Books: https://www.nytimes.com/books/first/s/smith-callin.html Hardcover: Little, Brown and Company (Warner), July 1, 2000. Paperback: Da Capo Press, October 2, 2001.
  4. ^ Keith Lawrence, Owensburo Messenger Inquirer. "Bluegrass legend's grave still draws fans". Retrieved December 25, 2011.

External links[edit]