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Ernie Newton

September 24, 1974 OH136 192 min.


Bass player. Born November 7, 1909. Died October 19, 1976. One of the leading Nashville session musicians during the late 1940s-late 1950s. Recognized as the first Nashville bass player to use a drumhead mounted on the bass and played with a brush. He can be heard on numerous classic recordings, including Red Foley’s “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy,” Hank Snow’s “I’m Moving On,” and Johnnie & Jack’s “Poison Love.”

Interview Summary

1974 September 24
(3 hours, 12 minutes)
Bass player Ernie Newton describes the development of his career. Discussion includes his childhood; experiences as a child in Hollywood during the 1920s; the start of his music career, including his experiences in a Hawaiian band; his experiences as a club performer during the early years of the Depression; his move to country music and his start as a bass player; working on WLS Chicago, including work with Mac & Bob, and the Hilltoppers; the formation of the Les Paul Trio; working with Red Foley; his start as a session player; his experiences in the recording studio, including work with Bill Monroe; working with other session musicians, including Grady Martin; development of the Nashville Sound; his move away from music to a pro golf career; changes in country music; his songwriting; changes in the music industry; and memories from his years as a performer.

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