PHOTOS AND MEMORIES BY JIM PEVA
** **All photos on this page are by Jim Peva. Photos are available without text for Media and other use, but permission must be granted in advance.
Please contact Jim Peva at JRPv@aol.com for non-text versions before use.****
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L to R: Bessie Lee Mauldin, Bill Monroe, Melissa Monroe (Bill’s Daughter),
Joe Stuart, Bill Keith, and Del McCoury, taken at Brown County Jamboree Barn, 1963.
“An interesting fact about Joe Stuart — Joe was a multi-instrumentalist. He is the only Blue Grass Boy to my knowledge to have played all five instruments in the band, (including the mandolin when Bill was recuperating from an accident),” Photo and notes by Jim Peva
L to R: Birch Monroe, James Monroe, Bill Monroe. Taken at Bean Blossom, IN, c. 1966. “Bill Monroe was the youngest in a musical family and was left to play the lowly mandolin, then a “parlor instrument”, because his older brother Charlie played the guitar and brother Birch played the fiddle. Bill transformed that instrument into a driving force in the musical genre he created — bluegrass music — by playing it like it had never been played before (or since). Bill’s son James followed his uncle Charlie’s lead by playing the guitar.”
Photo and note by Jim Peva
L to R: Byron Berline, Bill Monroe, James Monroe, Lamar Grier.
Taken at the Brown County Jamboree Barn, 1967.
“This picture was taken during the last show before the great Oklahoma fiddler,
Byron Berline, was inducted into the Army. I tape recorded that show and sent him a copy. I saw Byron many years later and he thanked me, saying it was a great souvenir of his time as a Blue Grass Boy.” Photo and note by Jim Peva
L to R: Mark Hembree, Bill Monroe. Taken at the Brown County Jamboree Barn, c. 1980. “Bill Monroe was the consummate showman. The effort and energy he put into a performance was the same regardless of the size or makeup of the audience. You always got your money’s worth. And in later years when he might doze off in a chair offstage, when onstage he could transform himself from an old, tired man into the young, energetic Bill Monroe of the 1940s. It was an amazing transformation.”
Photo and notes by Jim Peva
Bill Monroe with James Shelby Wyatt (Jim Peva’s grandson)
Photo by Jim Peva taken at the Brown County Jamboree Barn c. 1982
“Bill Monroe loved to give quarters to little kids. He could remember what a great sum of money this had seemed to him as a child. His fans remembered this. When his body was brought to the little church in Rosine, KY for his funeral, the inside of his open casket lid was lined with quarters.”
L-R: Bill Monroe and Wayne Lewis
Photo by Jim Peva taken at the Brown County Jamboree Barn, 1985
L to R: Children, Bill Monroe. Taken at Bean Blossom, c. 1985.
Bill sometimes brought some of his livestock to Bean Blossom. Here he gives children a ride around the festival grounds in a horse-drawn wagon.
L to R: Blake Williams, Bill Monroe, Ricky Skaggs, and Johnny Montgomery,
taken at an outdoor festival in Bean Blossom, IN, 1987.
“At a show at the Brown County Jamboree Barn in the early 1960s, Bessie Lee Mauldin said to Bill, “Tell the folks about that little boy down in Kentucky.” Bill proceeded to tell about a show in Kentucky they had played the week before where the audience had insisted that he let a little boy on stage to play Bill’s mandolin with the Blue Grass Boys. Many years later I heard Ricky Skaggs tell the same story. The place had been Martha, KY, and the audience was full of Ricky’s relatives. Only then did I realize that the “little boy down in Kentucky” in Bill’s story, was Ricky Skaggs. Here, Ricky plays on stage at Bean Blossom with his boyhood hero, Bill Monroe.” Photo and notes by: Jim Peva
L to R: Jim Peva, Bill Monroe, George Long, Shelby Wyatt, Ailene Peva, and
Della Monroe. Taken at Bean Blossom, IN, c. 1987.
“Before the afternoon shows start, friends have a visit at the campground.”
L to R: Mark Squires (?), Blake Williams, Bill Monroe, Johnny Montgomery,
Tom Ewing. Taken at Bean Blossom, 1987.
“Bill Monroe was not only the originator of bluegrass music but he set standards that many bands still follow today. The band was always neatly dressed, with white shirts and ties, showing pride and respect for the music and the fans. Promptness was adhered to, I have seen Bill start shows on time even though some band members were late and sheepishly joined the show in progress. And hardly any shows were complete without one of two Gospel numbers.” Photo and notes by Jim Peva
L to R: Jim Peva, Bill Monroe taken at Bill Monroe’s farm,
Goodlettsville, TN, c. 1988.
“Bill Monroe was a farmer at heart and he plowed his potato patch with two pony mules given to him by Ralph Stanley.”
L to R: Bill Monroe, Doc Watson. Taken at Bean Blossom, IN, c. 1993.
“Seldom have two acoustic instrumentalists become so proficient on their respective instruments as to be legends in their own lifetimes.. But this was true with respect to Bill Monroe and Doc Watson. To see the two perform together was a rare, rare treat.”
Photo and notes by Jim Peva
L to R: Bill Monroe, James Monroe, Taken at Bean Blossom, IN, c. 1993.
“James Monroe became a Blue Grass Boy in 1964, playing bass fiddle. He switched to guitar in 1969. In 1972 he left the Blue Grass Boys to form his own band, the Midnight Ramblers. Here, he performs at Bean Blossom, IN with his father.”
Photo and note by Jim Peva
L to R: Cathy Peva, Bill Monroe, Owensboro, KY, 1995.
Photo by Jim Peva and he shares this story, “When our family first attended the Brown County Jamboree shows in Bean Blossom, IN, in 1961, my three daughters were 7, 6, and 3 years of age. We would usually go early to get a front row seat, and over the years Bill Monroe watched my three kids grow up on that front row. Cathy, our youngest, at the age of 3 or 4, would shout, “play Linda Lou, Bill”, and Bill would usually oblige. He usually played four shows at the Jamboree Barn during the season, from Easter Sunday through mid-November, and our family only missed one Bill Monroe show until the Jamboree shows were discontinued in 1982. Although my daughters did not call him “Uncle Bill”, it was that sort of relationship that grew up between them and Bill Monroe through those years.”
L to R: Chris Thile, Bill Monroe.
Taken at the last IBMA held at Owensboro, KY, 1995.
“Here, Bill gives a young Chris Thile some pointers on the mandolin. Thile was to go on and play his own brand of bluegrass music.” Photo and notes by Jim Peva
L to R: Unknown autograph collector, Bill Monroe.
Photo by: Jim Peva taken at Bean Blossom festival, c. 1987.
“Like many entertainers, Bill Monroe was often asked for his autograph. Here he
obliges a female fan by signing his name exactly as she asked him to.”
L to R: Jim Peva, Ailene Peva, Bill Monroe, Betty Smith, Ray Smith.
Taken at Bean Blossom, c. 1989.
“Bill Monroe loved to visit with his fans. Here he has a cup of coffee between shows at Bean Blossom.” Photo and notes by Jim Peva
L to R: Bertha Monroe, Bill Monroe.
Photo by Jim Peva.
“Taken backstage at Bean Blossom shortly after old stage was torn down and present stage was built in 1992. Note interior painting had not been finished.
Note the “Jesus” pin on Bill’s lapel above. While not “politically correct”, this was a public expression of his faith. Bill’s faith was nurtured like that of any farmer who, year after year, sees inert seeds planted in the earth turn into living plants – a miracle that can only be attributed to God, and Bill was a farmer at heart.
Johnny Cash, in introducing Bill Monroe on his “Country Gold” TV show in 1970, said that Monroe was the creator of, “…the purest form of country music…”, a “…truly American art form…”. And the bluegrass music that farmer Bill Monroe created through his God-given talent has now taken root all over the world.
He was one of a kind, an original American poet of the rural south who wrote songs, many of which were autobiographical, and he left us with a great gift – bluegrass music, which is nothing more nor less than an audible expression of his personality.
As an instrumentalist, bandleader, singer, and songwriter, whose professional career spanned 66 years, he may well have had the most all-around musical talent America has ever seen.”