The Country Music Planet Present Pop Stoneman A Real Legend!
The Country Music Planet is extremely proud to present Pop Stoneman and The Stoneman Family, early pioneers in both bluegrass music and country music!



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The Country Music Planet
Ernest V. (Pop) Stoneman
(Singer, Songwriter, Guitar, Autoharp, Harmonica, Clawhammer Banjo, Jew’s Harp)

The Stoneman Family
An Early Photograph of The Stoneman Family
Top - R: Roni, Van
Standing, middle row, L - R: Scott, Hattie (Mom) Ernest V. (Pop), Grace, Dean, Gene, Eddie
Seated, L - R: John, Bill, Donna, Jim, Jack
Missing from this photograph: Patsy

  • Given Name: Ernest Van Stoneman
  • Date of Birth: May 25, 1893
  • Place of Birth: Monarat (Iron Ridge), Carroll County, Virginia
  • Married: Hattie Frost
  • Children: Eddie L., I. Grace, John C., Pattie I. J. William (dec’d.), A. Juanita (dec’d.), Gene A., Dean C. (dec’d.), C. Scott (dec’d.), Donna L., O. James, Reta V. (dec’d.), Veronica L., Van H.
  • Date of Death: June 14, 1968

   Ernest Stoneman ranked among the prominent recording artists of Country music’s first commercial decade. Born near what would later become Galax, Virginia, Stoneman was left motherless at age three and was raised by his father and three musically-inclined cousins who taught him the instrumental and vocal traditions of Blue Ridge mountain culture. When he married Hattie Frost in November 1918, he entered another musically-involved family.
   Ernest worked at a variety of jobs, mostly carpentry, and played music for his own enjoyment and that of his neighbors, but when he heard a Henry Whitter record in 1924, he determined to better it and changed his life as well. Stoneman went to New York and cut two songs for the Okeh label. Ralph Peer directed him through several sessions for Okeh and Victor and freelanced on other labels as well. In 1926, he added family musicians to his group for a full string band sound.
   In July and August 1927, Stoneman helped Peer conduct the legendary Bristol sessions that led to the discovery of the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. He continued to be active in recording through 1929.
   Falling on hard times during the depression, the Stonemans and their nine surviving children moved to the Washington, D.C. area in 1932 after losing their home and most of their possessions. There they had four more children and struggled through dire poverty, with Ernest taking whatever work he could find and trying to revive his musical career.
   In 1941, Ernest bought a lot in Carmody Hills, Maryland where he built a shack for the family and eventually obtained a more or less regular job at the Naval Gun Factory. In 1947, the Stoneman Family won a talent contest at Constitution Hall that gave them six months’ exposure on local television. In 1956, "Pop" won $10,000 on the NBC-TV quiz show The Big Surprise and sang on the show as well. That same year, the Blue Grass Champs, a group composed largely of his children, were winners on the CBS-TV program Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts, and Mike Seeger recorded "Pop" and Hattie for Folkways.
   Ernest retired from labor and the Champs went full-time to become the Stonemans. They did albums for Starday in 1962 and 1963 and in 1964, went to Texas and California, cutting an album for World Pacific, playing at Disneyland, on some network shows and at several Folk festivals.
   In 1965, they went to Nashville, where they got a contract with MGM Records and started a syndicated TV show. They received CMA’s "Vocal Group of the Year" in 1967.

The Country Music Planet
Roni Stoneman
First Lady Of Banjo

Most remember RONI STONEMAN as THE IRONING BOARD LADY (IDA LEE) from the long running TV show HEEHAW, but Miss Stoneman is much more than that. True, she  spent over 20 years on HEEHAW, but she was a great entertainer long before HEEHAW. Some would say that her roots are in American Music, but this writer says that American Music roots are in her and the rest of THE STONEMAN FAMILY. After all, THE STONEMAN FAMILY has been entertaining the "FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS" for over 350 years. That was not a misprint, folks. I mean three hundred and fifty years. Her dad, POP STONEMAN, had the first million selling record in country music, THE SINKING OF THE TITANIC. He, also, had the first country music radio show. Roni was a big part of THE STONEMAN FAMILY band long before HEEHAW. She is appropriately called THE FIRST LADY OF THE BANJO by all the insiders in the music business. She is in this writer's opinion one of the greatest banjo pickers that ever lived. She is a fantastic entertainer, and her singing is pure country with those clear mountain sounds coming from somewhere deep within from a place most of us can't even imagine. But most important of all RONI STONEMAN is one of the most honest and nicest human beings that this writer has ever had a chance to meet.

Jerry Mac



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