BMI’s database credits Chubby Wise with 93 published songs and tunes, mostly arrangements of traditional or older material. His best-known co-composition is:
“Shenandoah Waltz”

Early Influences

  • Bryan Purcell
  • Fiddlin’ Arthur Smith
  • Curly Fox
  • Clayton McMichen

Came to Fame With

  • Bill Monroe & the Blue Grass Boys

Performed With

  • Jubilee Hillbillies, Gainesville, FL, 1938-1942
  • Bill Monroe & the Blue Grass Boys, 1943-1948, 1949-1950
  • Clyde Moody, Chubby Wise & the Radio Ranch Men, 1948-1949
  • Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs & the Foggy Mountain Boys, 1951
  • Elton Britt, early ’50s
  • Hank Snow & the Rainbow Ranch Boys, 1954-1970
  • Chubby Wise (solo artist), 1970-1996

By the Way

  • Learned banjo at age eight, while recovering from a leg injury which made him ineligible for the military during World War II, when Bill Monroe’s fiddlers were leaving for the service.
  • Played guitar with a flat pick on Bill Monroe gospel numbers, while guitar thumb-picker Lester Flatt sang in the quartet.
  • According to a mid-’50s Hank Snow Fan Club profile, “When he is not playing fiddle you can find him on the bank with a fishing pole in his hand… His favorite food is fried chicken and his favorite color is blue. His favorite sport is baseball… Chubby is one of the friendliest persons you could hope to meet.”
  • His first album, oddly titled “The Tennessee Fiddler,” was produced by Hank Snow at Snow’s home studio in 1961 for the Starday label. He made 17 more LPs for Stoneway between 1970 and 1979, and two CDs for Pinecastle in the mid-90s.
  • Profiled in Orange Blossom Boys: The Untold Story of Ervin T Rouse, Chubby Wise and the World’s Most Famous Fiddle Tune, Randy Noles, 2002.
  • Recorded sessions with Hank Williams, Red Foley, Ernest Tubb, Eddy Arnold, Merle Haggard, Hylo Brown, Jimmy Martin, Mac Wiseman, Red Allen, Hazel & Alice, Charlie Moore, Larry Sparks, the Good Old Boys, the Bass Mountain Boys, and others.

Led the Way

  • A member of the classic 1945-1948 edition of the Blue Grass Boys, Wise helped to establish the essential form of the bluegrass style, and became the pattern for generations of bluegrass fiddlers.
  • “Shenandoah Waltz,” which he co-wrote with Clyde Moody, was a hit for Moody and sold 150,000 in the pop field for Sammy Kaye.
  • Starred as a fiddler in bluegrass, country, and Western Swing during a musical career that spanned seven decades.
  • SPBGMA Preservation Hall of Greats, 1991.
  • Bluegrass Hall of Fame, 1998.

From the Archives

“Chubby’s a little more a lonesome type of fiddler, and he plays some blues in it… Chubby could beat Howdy [Forrester] on a song, but Howdy would have beat Chubby on a fiddle piece like ‘Cotton-Eyed Joe.'”
Bill Monroe, quoted in Charles K. Wolfe, “Bluegrass Touches: an Interview with Bill Monroe,” Old Time Music, Spring, 1975.
“Hank [Snow] liked Chubby’s ability to play twin fiddle parts, and Chubby’s exceptionally smooth, rich tone, with more vibrato than many country fiddlers use.”
Charles Wolfe in liner notes to Hank Snow: the Singing Ranger, Volume 2, Bear Family Records, 1990.
“Chubby makes the fiddle sing like a singer sings. He told me that once you start a break, you should never take the bow off the strings. It should just be like a sea gull flying over the ocean waves. He said that’s how smooth you have to get it.
Tommy Cordell, quoted by Barry Willis in America’s Music: Bluegrass, 1989.