'Pop' Stoneman's Music finds Place in Country's Hall of Fame
By DAVID McGEE | BRISTOL HERALD COURIER | February 15, 2008**The story appeared in the Bristol Herald Courier on Feb. 13, 2008 **
The Mount Rushmore of the famous Bristol Sessions recordings will soon be complete.
Ernest "Pop" Stone man, a key figure in the landmark 1927 music recordings, will be inducted posthumously into the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, the Country Music Association announced Tuesday.
At the Medallion ceremony later this year, Stone man will be enshrined alongside producer/talent scout Ralph Peer and other sessions performers Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family.
"I believe this is another example of the significance of those sessions, and that those people have not been forgotten," said Fred McClellan, president of the board of the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance, who attended Tuesday's announcement in Nashville.
Other members of the 2008 class include Emmylou Harris, Tom T. Hall and the Sattler Brothers.
A successful singer-songwriter from Galax, Va., Stoneman is credited with helping Peer travel to Bristol and record local artists here in the summer of 1927.
Stone man was also the first person to record during the two-week sessions. He continued to perform until his death in 1968.
Music historians call the sessions the "big bang" of commercial country music and they led to Bristol being named the official birthplace of country music.
"Stoneman had previously recorded with Peer, and he told him that if he wanted to record traditional mountain music, he needed to come to the mountains of Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee," said Bill Hartley, executive director of the BCMA.
The recognition could have come sooner, Hartley said.
"If you look back at Stoneman and what he and his family have done, it's impressive," Hartley said. "He was one of the people at the Bristol Sessions, he was one of country music's early pioneers in the 1920s. And in 1967, the Stoneman Family was named vocal group of the year at the first Country Music Association awards ceremony."
The family performed on ABC television shows, "The Jimmy Dean Show" and "The Hollywood Palace," and in two movies, "The Road to Nashville" and "Hell on Wheels," according to information provided by the Country Music Association.
The Stoneman Family remains the longest continually performing family act in country music.
"His greatest contribution was by his own success that preceded the Bristol Sessions. It proved the viability of commercial country music," said McClellan.
Another inductee, Kentucky native Tom T. Hall, also has ties to the Mountain Empire. His wife, Dixie, has been a family friend of the Carter family for five decades and she currently serves on the board of directors of the Carter Fold in Scott County, Va.