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Benny Martin Biography

Benny Martin Biography

Benny Edward Martin (May 8, 1928 - March 13, 2001), was an American bluegrass fiddler who invented the 8-string fiddle. Born in Sparta, Tennessee, his father and two of his sisters played music professionally. From childhood, he began learning the fiddle and ukulele, as well as the guitar and in his early teens left home to go to Nashville to pursue a full-time career as a country musician. During the 1940s and early 1950s he toured extensively with a group and was part of regular musical performances on radio. Notably, Martin was a member of Flatt and Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys. In 1954, Martin founded his own band and for a short time was part of the Grand Ole Opry. He hired Colonel Tom Parker as his manager and eventually would work as the opening act for some of the early Elvis Presley concerts. Martin typified the "country stompin'" music, with his enthusiastic fiddling while dancing around on stage. For almost five decades he was a popular entertainer making numerous appearances throughout the United States and Europe. He also recorded a number of records on which he performed on the fiddle and sang vocals. Martin's fiddle style was revolutionary. His recordings with Flatt and Scruggs are among their best, and he's particularly remembered for "Someone Took My Place With You," which exemplifies his unique use of double stops. Martin continues to astonish and influence contemporary fiddlers even now, notably in the style of Michael Cleveland, who's recorded many tunes originated by Martin. Benny Martin died in 2001 and was interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.

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