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Dewey Farmer passes – Bluegrass Today

7 min read
Dewey Farmer passes – Bluegrass Today

Influential bluegrass mandolinist Dewey Farmer passed away peacefully at a hospice treatment facility in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Tuesday early morning, July 12, 2022. He was 79 several years aged.

Dewey Lee Farmer was born on August 6, 1942, in Oconee County, South Carolina. He performed many devices, specializing in the mandolin and travelled and carried out in lots of elements of the region in several bluegrass bands, together with A.L. Wooden and the Smokey Ridge Boys (for the duration of the 1960s and 1970s) and Carl Story and Rambling Mountaineers (for the duration of 1970s).

In the early 1960s Farmer also performed in a band with Lonnie Morton, Garland Shuping, and Invoice Deaton, and with banjo participant Hoyt Herbert in The Strings of Five in late 1970s.

Even even though Farmer experienced a occupation that prolonged over 60 several years he continues to be a mostly unsung artist. He has his advocates/champions even though. 

Tom Isenhour, an authority on Monroe-style mandolin, noted the impression that Farmer experienced on Monroe ….. 

“If you know your Monroe, you know his design changed about each individual decade. That’s mainly because of Dewey who very first satisfied Monroe in the mid-’50s. You can start off to hear his impact on Monroe’s style with Bluegrass Stomp and Bluegrass Twist. Music like Dusty Miller, Kentucky Mandolin, Significant Sandy River, and Tombstone Junction, Southern Taste have Farmer licks all in them. Number of mandolin gamers have been authorized on stage with Monroe. Dewey is one of the handful of. This reminds me of the joke about the man up coming to the Pope. If I’m not mistaken, Farmer was also a huge influence on John Duffey. His break on Base of the Glass is pure Dewey.

Right here Farmer performs Monroe’s Bluegrass Exclusive 

In the liner notes to the Dewey Farmer & Derwin Hinson CD, Joseph L. Scott wrote …. 

“Bluegrass Unrestricted once proclaimed Dewey Farmer ‘The Finest Mandolin Participant You have In no way Read.’ But for individuals of us who came up in and around the North Carolina bluegrass scene, the final a few phrases of that title were often needless. To us, Dewey was merely the best. A stirring mix of Monroe downstrokes and equipment-gun triplets, of standard fiddle tunes and outrageous Andy Statman handles (a distinction revisited to kick off this recording) there is only no 1 like Dewey. And aside from, that unofficial title was under no circumstances totally precise in any case. 

If you’ve read Carl Story’s 1969 LP Daddy Sang Bass, then you have heard Dewey. Have any of those people floor-breaking early 70s A.L Wooden and The Smokey Mountain Boys LPs? Then you’ve heard Dewey. Love Butch Robbins’ acclaimed 2005 launch, Grounded, Centered and Focused? Then, well, you get the idea…

Lonesome Smokey is just one of a several tunes that Dewey Farmer composed …


[Al Wood & The Smokey Ridge Boys – Sing A Bluegrass Song] 

Farmer also performed and/or recorded with Hoyt Herbert (banjo), Ken Poovey (fiddle), and cousin Lester Deaton (guitar) in a band identified as Strings of Five Morris Herbert Sr. Clarence Greene Midnight Highway Powder Creek and Rosewood, as properly as fronting with Harold Murphy the group Foggy Mountain Grass. 

He enjoyed attending fiddle contests and conventions. In this instance from 1988 he was at Galax   

On and On ….  

Dewey Farmer (mandolin and singing guide), Clay Jones (guitar and harmony vocal), Larry Perkins (banjo), Bob Winquist (fiddle), and Dale Overstreet (next mandolin).

Disappointingly, Farmer’s mandolin selecting was in no way showcased on a skillfully manufactured album. Most of his recordings have been done in a makeshift studio that he experienced driving his property and in which he recorded tasks for area bands and did a wonderful job in the circumstances. 

Right here is yet another sample from his time with A.L. Wood & The Smokey Ridge Boys – Deep Thunder 


As a teenager, Sandy Hatley picked the banjo with an all-woman team called the Happy Hollow String Band……  

“He encouraged me when I was a youthful woman musician in ’70s throughout a time when ladies weren’t often welcomed.”

Travers Chandler was another who loved Farmer’s patronage … 

“I hardly ever consciously set out to pattern my enjoying on the mandolin immediately after everyone, but Dewey permeated and motivated me over and above description.

I 1st fulfilled Dewey when I was 14 many years previous. I had people marvelous Rebel releases from my NC hero and mentor, A.L. Wooden, which showcased Dewey on mandolin. When I fulfilled Dewey, he was with the incomparable C.E. Ward. They could’ve been crabby bastards, but they weren’t. I was authorized to stand in awe of my hero and perform the 1st significant quality instruments I ever played (Dewey was making an attempt out about a fifty percent dozen of the Ward mandolins). That chance encounter shaped my lifestyle forever and I made a close friend in Dewey Farmer. I was always welcome to simply call or stop by anytime. He cherished talking about my heroes as a lot as I did. Buzz Busby, Crimson Allen, Charlie Moore… Dewey realized them all.

When I recorded the album, Point out of Depression, I created specific to cover one particular of Dewey’s numbers. And each individual mile each individual point out, just about every stage, I told everyone who would hear about Dewey. 

I feel so honored to have recorded with Dewey, picked with him, sang with him, and connect with him good friend. The very last time I noticed him was a few years ago at Mt Ethereal Fiddlers convention. It was hotter than 9 sorts of hell, and Dewey, the coolest cat at any time, by no means broke a sweat. We broke out the mandos and for 3 hours we sang, picked, traded licks, and laughed. I’d take a break and he’d bellow out, ‘pick it like I taught ya!’

I appreciate you, Dewey. The globe currently misses your existence.”

Al Jones Sings Once again (teaser)

Larry Perkins met Farmer right after he, when a teen, moved to Kannapolis ….

“I’ve in no way experienced a far better buddy than Dewey. We fulfilled when I was striving to learn how to perform. He was now a legend, a really revered stylist and performer, but for some cause he took an fascination in me and we grew to become very best of buddies. Rarely did a weekend go but what we have been alongside one another enjoying somewhere. Dewey’s calloused fingerprints are all more than nearly anything I have been blessed to do with or due to the fact or as a result of new music.”

Tom Isenhour remembers …

“In 1965 I received to meet up with, for the first time, the then legendary mandolin picker, Dewey Farmer, of Kannapolis, NC, up shut and individual in a classroom at the Mooresville, NC Fiddler’s Conference. Dewey had been successful championship mandolin prizes in competitors since the late ’50s. I was just so impressed with his command of the Monroe Fashion mandolin choosing. Dewey was equipped to just take it to the following amount. Dewey experienced the energy, the notes, and means to produce his new music. We crossed paths in distinctive bands and bluegrass festivals for the following 57 many years, and remained mates to this working day.  

I keep in mind a person of the happiest periods I saw him was when he lastly received an authentic Gibson F5 pre-war Fern mandolin in the mid-’80s from collector/seller Harry West. One particular time we received to play in the similar band, and finished up on flipping a coin on who would enjoy guitar. I gained and Dewey had to perform guitar, but Dewey was also a wonderful guitar picker too. We experienced a popular bond with our really like of all issues Monroe. Dewey experienced a massive persona, and you generally felt his like of bluegrass tunes when all over him. He will be skipped by so numerous who knew him. 

R.I.P. my friend in bluegrass.”

Dewey Farmer – Bluegrass Ramble (Powder Creek) ….


Willie McDonald (The Bluegrass Patriots) captures the essence of Dewey Farmer’s mandolin in this endearing tribute – The Legend of Dewey Farmer, launched November 1, 2015  

In 2002 he experienced some health concerns about this time, like a damaged collar bone, but was frequently in superior well being right up until not long ago. 

Farmer worked at Cannon Mills in Kannapolis for 44 decades. 

R.I.P., Dewey Farmer 

The loved ones will receive mates from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 16, 2022, at Genesis Baptist Church in China Grove, NC. The funeral provider will abide by and commence at 11:00 a.m. with Rev. Gene Edwards officiating. Burial will immediately observe the service at Carolina Memorial Park in Kannapolis.

In lieu of flowers, memorials might be built to Transitions LifeCare in Raleigh, NC.

Bluegrass Nowadays is grateful for the support from Tom Isenhour, Larry Perkins, Travers Chandler, James Torrence, and Morris Herbert. 

A Discography 

Dewey Farmer

  • Outdated Pink Barn (1988) – Dewey Farmer & Close friends.  
  • My Aged Favorites (1992)  

CE Ward & Dewey Farmer

Dewey Farmer & Derwin Hinson

  • Dewey Farmer & Derwin Hinson (Patuxent CD 233, 2012)

Carl Tale and Rambling Mountaineers

  • Daddy Sang Bass (Starday S-SLP-438, 1969)

A.L. Wooden & The Smokey Ridge Boys

  • Bluegrass Currently (Rebel SLP-1525, 1973) 
  • Sing A Bluegrass Track (Rebel SLP-1519, 1973) 

The Legendaires

  • Kentucky Sunshine Likely Down (Atteiram AP I 1578, 1978)

Strings Of Five

  • Fret Large (Star Records 13579, 1979) 

James Torrence

Larry Perkins

  • A Touch Of The Previous (Pinecastle PRC 1022, 1993)

Butch Robins

  • Grounded Centered Centered (Hay Holler Records HHH-108, 1995)

Al Jones

  • Al Jones Sings Yet again (June 2017) 

Various Artists

  • The Smokey Ridge Boys – Jimmy Brown the Newsboy
  • I Keep in mind Those people Days, …Way Back (Union Grove Chatting Device Data – SS-5, 1971)

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