There is no record of Charlie Waller composing original material, but BMI credits him as an arranger or co-arranger of 35 songs and instrumentals, including:

  • “Calling My Children Home”
  • “Little Bessie”
  • “One Wide River To Cross”
  • “Two Little Boys”
  • “Under The Double Eagle”

Early Influences

  • Hank Snow
  • Mac Wiseman
  • Don Reno
  • Bill Monroe
  • Flatt & Scruggs

Came to Fame With

  • Classic Country Gentlemen

Performed With

  • Earl Taylor & the Stoney Mountain Boys, 1954-1955
  • Buzz Busby & the Bayou Boys, 1955-1957
  • The Country Gentlemen, 1957-2004

Led the Way

  • During six decades, prominent vocalist and rhythm guitarist (and since 1992, leader) of the Country Gentlemen.
  • Member of the first band to incorporate a large share of repertoire from other genres, an essential link between the early pioneers of bluegrass and the newgrass movement.
  • Played a leading role in making Washington, DC, the most prominent capital for bluegrass music from the late 1950s through the 1970s.
  • Bluegrass Hall of Fame, 1996.

By the Way

  • As a teenager, parked cars in Washington near where Roy Clark worked. The two would jam while Charlie waited for customers.
  • While his most resonant range was lower than most bluegrass vocalists, sang lead, baritone, bass, tenor, frog, duck, and girl parts (the last three on “Ain’t Got No Home”).
  • Loved being on the water and even lived on his motorboat for a while.
  • According to Tom Gray, suggested that two ex-bandmates name their new group “The Seldom Scene.”
  • Mentored scores of young musicians who passed in and out of the Country Gentlemen, while Charlie remained the only constant – and therefore the defining – element of the band’s sound.
  • Son Randy Waller (born in 1959) saw little of his traveling father during his childhood, but began touring with the Country Gentlemen in 2003 and continues to lead it today.

From the Archives

“Really we were kind of crazy on stage. You know, just by itself we were that way, but we figured it was more fun and especially if people are watching you. If you’re having a good time, they’re having a better time.”
Quoted by Tom Henderson in “Charlie Waller: the Original Country Gentleman,” Muleskinner News, December, 1973.
“The thing we had going for us was we didn’t care to sound like the rest. We mixed in a few older country songs and folk songs; we did some jazz and movie themes.”
Quoted in obituary, Washington Post, August 19, 2004.
“With a straight face he would convulse audiences with witty off-the-cuff remarks. Once at the Shamrock Restaurant in Georgetown, D.C., the Gents were on stage when the door opened and an elegantly attired woman walked in – clearly over-dressed for her surroundings. Charlie took one look at her and barked, ‘I thought I told you to stay in the truck!'”
Walt Saunders in liner notes to Joe’s Last Train, Rebel Records, 2004.