published Thursday, June 26th, 2014

City Beat: Cumberland Trio gets old-time hall induction

The Cumberland Trio
The Cumberland Trio
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Jerre Haskew, who on the radio goes by the nickname The Music Man, will be inducted into America's Old Time Music Hall of Fame along with his former band mates in the Cumberland Trio. Joining him will be Tom Kilpatrick and the late Andy Gavverick.

The 39-year-old hall is located in Iowa.

The Cumberland Trio, which took its name from the strip near campus, began as a trio and later added Jim Shuptrine on bass, more than 50 years ago in Knoxville, where the young musicians were attending the University of Tennessee. They were a popular folk act on the verge of big things at the time.

They won a couple of local competitions and then a national one. In the summer of 1964, they had a steady gig in Gatlinburg. They recorded 15 songs in Nashville with Chet Atkins in the booth, and then later recorded a 12-track album. They'd appeared on "Hootenanny," a music-based television show, along with with Doc Watson and Bill Monroe and things were looking good.

They saw the New York session as an opportunity to hit it big, and ended up signing a contract with an offshoot label that soon after went bankrupt and the album was shelved. The British Invasion essentially did the same for folk music in general.

The group found new life in 2000 when Haskew's wife surprised him with a special edition copy of a children's book based on his song "A Lion Named Sam." It moved him to dig out the recording of the song and have it remastered. That led to more remastered songs and eventually the group reformed in 2001 for a couple of reunion shows in Knoxville and here.

Their's is actually a pretty fascinating and revealing story about the music industry at that time and how fickle fame and success can be. Their last show, for example, was at Wake Forest University in 1964 and was cut short after three songs because the football team stormed in after a rare win.

Previously inducted members of the America's Old Time Music Hall of Fame include Roy Acuff, Johnny Cash, Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams and the Carter Family.

■ Don't forget that the Keith Sherman tribute concert is Sunday from 4-8 p.m. at Rhythm & Brews. Lots of local legends will be singing Sherman's songs. We've had lots of benefits and tributes, but I can't remember that happening here before.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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