Sid Harkreader

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Sid Harkreader
Birth nameSidney Johnson Harkreader
BornFebruary 26, 1898
Gladeville, Tennessee, USA
DiedMarch 19, 1988
GenresOld-time music
Occupation(s)musician, vocalist
Instrumentsfiddle, vocals
Years activec. 1924–1969
LabelsVocalion, Paramount
Associated actsUncle Dave Macon, Sid Harkreader & Company, The Round-Up Gang

Sidney Johnson "Fiddlin' Sid" Harkreader[1] (February 26, 1898 — March 19, 1988) was an American Old-time fiddle player and string band leader. He was an early member of the Grand Ole Opry, at first accompanying banjoist Uncle Dave Macon and later performing on the program with his own band. In the 1940s, Harkreader formed and briefly toured with the Western band "The Round-Up Gang" before returning again to the Opry.[2]

Harkreader was born in Gladeville, Tennessee, a small town in the cedar glades region east of Nashville. His father encouraged him to develop musical abilities, and Harkreader learned to play fiddle at local square dances.[3] Determined to become a professional entertainer, Harkreader first toured as a fiddler for the Loew vaudeville circuit. Around 1923, he paired with Uncle Dave Macon to play old-time music in Nashville, and the following year, the two recorded several sides for Vocalion Records.[4] On November 6, 1925, Harkreader and Macon delivered a legendary performance before a sold-out crowd at the Ryman Auditorium, and the two began performing for the Grand Ole Opry (at the time called WSM's Barn Dance) a few weeks later.[5] Harkreader's typical repertoire included "Old Joe" (which he learned from fellow Opry pioneer Humphrey Bate),[6] "Turkey in the Straw," "Sugar Walks Down the Street," "Ain't Goin' to Rain No More," and "Go Away Mule."[7]

Harkreader recorded two dozen tracks for Paramount Records, the first set coming in 1927 accompanied by Hawaiian guitarist Grady Moore, and the second coming the following year accompanied by guitarist Blythe Poteet. In 1935, Harkreader returned to the Opry at the head of a string band, "Sid Harkreader and Company." The band consisted of Harkreader on fiddle and vocals, Emory Martin on mandolin, and Mack McGar on banjo. Around 1940, Harkeader formed "The Round-Up Gang" to record Western music, which had grown steadily in popularity in the previous decade. Harkreader eventually returned to the Opry, however, making guest appearances throughout the 1950s and 1960s.[4]

Harkreader is buried at Caraway Cemetery in Gladeville.[1]


  • I Wish I Was A Single Girl Again/New River Train (Vocalion Records 15035, April 1924)— 10" 78 RPM record on brown vinyl
  • Nashville: The Early String Bands, Volume 1 (County Records CO-3521, 2000)— contains version of "Old Joe" recorded by Harkreader and Grady Moore in 1927
  • Just from Tennessee with Uncle Dave Macon and Sam McGee, (Old Homestead), released in 2012


  1. ^ a b Sidney Johnson "Fiddlin' Sid" Harkreader at Find a Grave
  2. ^ Charles Wolfe, "Dr. Humphrey Bate," The Encyclopedia of Country Music: The Ultimate Guide to the Music (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 228.
  3. ^ Eugene Chadbourne, "Sid Harkreader - Biography." Retrieved: 10 December 2008.
  4. ^ a b Wolfe, Encyclopedia of Country Music, 228.
  5. ^ Jack Hurst, Nashville's Grand Ole Opry (New York: H.N. Abrams, 1975), 94.
  6. ^ Charles Wolfe, "Notes to Volume 1." In Nashville: The Early String Bands, Vol. 1 (p. 9) [CD liner notes]. County Records, 2000.
  7. ^ Hurst, 94.

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