Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Kentucky Chautauqua presents Grandpa Jones: Country Musician and Comic

David Hurt as Grandpa Jones
Pine Mountain State Resort Park, together with Kentucky Chautauqua, will present Grandpa Jones: Country Musician and Comic at Pine Mountain State Park in the Ray Harm Room on July 21, 2015.  The performance will begin at 7:30 pm.

Louis Marshall Jones, better known as Grandpa Jones, was the son of Henderson County sharecroppers, but his destiny was on the road, not the land.  A singer, banjo picker, songwriter, and late in life, television star, Jones was constantly on the move during a musical career of more than 60 years.

Hard times drove the family north to Akron, Ohio in the late 1920s. Jones, who had a repertoire of songs learned from his parents and the radio, won a talent contest that led to regular work on an Akron radio station. That launched a career that lasted more than sixty years. It was during tours with country music star (and fellow Kentuckian) Bradley Kincaid in the 1930s that Jones developed the Grandpa persona he used the rest of his life.

Jones wrote many of his most popular songs. Like many old-time musicians, he struggled during the rock-and-roll craze of the 1950s—he toured Canada and tried his hand at early television. Beginning in 1969, television brought Jones fame as a member of the original cast of "Hee Haw," which showcased his skills as a vaudeville comic. Grandpa Jones was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1978. He never retired, suffering a fatal stroke after a performance at the Grand Ole Opry in 1998.

David Hurt portrays Grandpa Jones for Kentucky Chautauqua.  Hurt has picked the guitar and banjo on front porches from Reelfoot to Red river.  He has acted at Stage One in Louisville, as well as in Lexington theaters.

Kentucky Chautauqua is an exclusive presentation of the Kentucky Humanities Council, Inc., with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Other support comes from Christina Lee Brown, the Brown-Forman Corporation, the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, Lindsey Wilson College, and Toyota.