Sonny Osborne (born October 29, 1937 in Hyden, Kentucky) is a bluegrass singer and five-string banjo player. A master of the style developed by Earl Scruggs, called the "Scruggs style", he is best known for his collaboration with his brother Bobby Osborne as the Osborne Brothers.
Sonny Osborne began playing the banjo at the age of eleven when his father bought him one. With a little help from Larry Richardson, he soon found out how to play. His brother Bobby worked with the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers and Sonny had a chance to join in with them during jam sessions. Bobby enlisted in the Marine Corps., and Sonny went on to work with Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys for a couple of months between June and September 1952. Only fourteen years old, he recorded nine tunes with the "Father of Bluegrass". Meanwhile, the same year, he recorded, on Gateway Records, together with guitarist Carlos Brock, fiddler Billy Thomas, mandolin player Enos Johnson and Smokey Ward on bass, calling themselves "Stanley Alpine". By now, his family had moved to Dayton, Ohio and Bobby returned from the Marines. Sonny and Bobby appeared together on WROL in Knoxville, Tennessee, on November 6, 1953. They had a recording contract on RCA Victor and together with Jimmy Martin, the Osborne Brothers made their first recordings on November 16, 1954.
Sonny Osborne was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor in 1994 and retired in 2003.
- Trischka, Tony, "Sonny Osborne", Banjo Song Book, Oak Publications, 1977
- Tony Trischka, Pete Wernick, Masters of the 5-String Banjo, Oak Publications, (1988)
- Sonny Osborne Talks With Tony Trischka
- Photo of Sonny from Fincastle 1966
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