Ernest ‘Pop’ Stoneman

Rural Roots of Bluegrass

By Wayne Erbsen

We couldn’t quite figure out who he was. As the lights were dimmed and the audience hushed, my sister Bonnie and I sat in suspense at the West Hollywood club known as The Ash Grove. All at once, the band started to play and even as our attention became riveted on the spectacle unfolding before us, we wondered about the little old man sitting on stage in a hard-backed chair with an autoharp flat on his lap and a little black hat stuck on his head.

We got a hint when members of the Stoneman Family eventually

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