• Wrote or co-wrote of several memorable songs in Reno & Smiley’s repertoire, including:
  • “He Will Forgive You”
  • “Jimmy Caught the Dickens (Pushing Ernest in the Tub)”
  • “Kneel Down”
  • “Never Get To Hold You in My Arms Anymore”

Associated With

  • Bill Monroe & the Blue Grass Boys, 1953-1955 (booking agent)
  • Don Reno, Red Smiley & the Tennessee Cut-Ups, 1955-1964 (booking agent & manager)

Came to Fame With

  • Bill Monroe & the Blue Grass Boys

By the Way

  • Interest in music started with a crush on Bill Monroe’s teenaged daughter Melissa.
  • Believed that bluegrass should be printed as two words, as a derivation of the band name the Blue Grass Boys
  • Got star fiddler Bobby Hicks a job with Bill Monroe in 1954, initially as a bass player.
  • Introduced Merle Haggard on two live albums: Okie from Muskogee (1969) and The Fightin’ Side of Me (1970), and performed a recitation with Conway Twitty on “Papa Sing Me a Song” (1969).

Led the Way

  • Promoted notable early bluegrass festivals in the 1960s and 1970s, including events in Fincastle (Roanoke), Virginia; Berryville, Virginia; Camp Springs, North Carolina; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; and Escoheag, Rhode Island.
  • Publisher of Muleskinner News, the second prominent monthly bluegrass magazine, 1969-late 1970s.
  • IBMA Award of Merit (Distinguished Achievement Award), 1990
  • Bluegrass Hall of Fame, 1998.

From the Archives

From the Archives: Dick Freeland, John Duffey and Carlton Haney in Culpeper, Virginia, June 10, 1972. The three men were at Jim Clark's Culpeper Blue Grass Folk Music Festival. When this photograph was taken, Freeland was the head of Rebel Records, Duffey was a member of the Seldom Scene (which recorded for Rebel), and Haney was a promoter of musical events (including on at Culpeper), visiting another promoter's festival on a busman's holiday. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer.

From the Archives: Bill Monroe, teaching, James Monroe, Carlton Haney, Skip Gorman and Roland White at Berryville, Va. Photo donor unknown.

[Recalling the Sunday afternoon “Bluegrass Story” at the first multi-day bluegrass festival, Labor Day weekend, 1965] “Carlton asked for complete silence from the audience. ‘We don’t want to hear a sound,’ he said, ‘just the wind in the trees.’ Then Bill played his famous mandolin introduction to ‘Mule Skinner Blues,’ and they were off!”
Phil Zimmerman, www.bluegrasstime.com.
“I believe Bill Monroe’s the only man you can learn bluegrass from… You can sing off-key until you go to singing with him for about a year and a half and you’ll sing just as true as a dollar and you’ll play an instrument just true as a dollar. He’s the only man in the world can make you do that. What Bill Monroe plays is bluegrass, and what everybody else plays is just a copy of him.”
“The Carlton Haney Story,” an interview with Fred Bartenstein, Muleskinner News, September, 1971.
“One day I understand they were all sittin’ around sayin’ that I couldn’t pull it off when Lucky Moeller [a banker turned ballroom owner in Oklahoma who moved to Nashville to help manage Webb Pierce and operate a talent agency] said, ‘You know, we’re all sittin’ here tellin’ each other Haney can’t do it. But has anybody told Haney he can’t do it?”
quoted in John Pugh, “Carlton Haney: the P.T. Barnum of Country Music,” Hustler, November, 1977.