Band Members

Ezra Cline

Born: January 13, 1907 in Gilbert Creek , West Virginia Death: July 11, 1984 in Gilbert Creek , West Virginia Primary Instrument: Bass

Ray "Curly Ray" Cline

Born: January 10, 1923 in Gilbert Creek , West Virginia Death: August 19, 1997 in Rockhouse , Kentucky Primary Instrument: Fiddle

Charles "Charlie" Cline

Born: June 26, 1931 in Gilbert Creek , West Virginia Death: November 20, 2004 in Jasper , Alabama Primary Instrument: Fiddle

Paul McCoy Humphrey (aka Paul Williams)

Born: March 30, 1935 in Wytheville , Virginia Primary Instrument: Guitar

Melvin Glen Goins

Born: December 30, 1933 in Bramwell , West Virginia Primary Instrument: Guitar

Ray Elwood Goins

Born: January 3, 1936 in Bramwell , West Virginia Death: July 2, 2007 in Pikeville , Kentucky Primary Instrument: Banjo

Composed

BMI’s database credits various members of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers with 270 published compositions, co-compositions, and arrangements. A few of their original songs are:

  • “Windy Mountain”
  • “No Curb Service”
  • “Baby You’re Cheatin’”

Early Influences

  • Delmore Brothers
  • Fiddlin’ Arthur SmithClayton McMichen and the Georgia Wildcats
  • Mainer’s Mountaineers
  • Monroe Brothers

Came to Fame With

  • The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, 1952-1954

Performed With

  • The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, 1938-1968

By the Way

  • Sold candy at early shows to generate income for the band. Curly Ray Cline credits this as the start of his salesmanship, which became legendary during his stay with Ralph Stanley.
  • Ezra Cline was one of the earliest musicians to use a bass fiddle in a mountain music, string band setting.
  • The band was initially known as the Bar-X Buckaroos and the Guyan Valley Boys. They eventually settled on the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers after seeing a road sign for the “Trail of the Lonesome Pine,” a byway in the area and the title of a popular 1908 romance novel.
  • Meals “on the road” often consisted of beans, potatoes, or corn from the garden that were cooked on a portable hot plate. Oftentimes, the band would perform a number or two in exchange for an electric hookup for their hot plate.

Led the Way

  • Among the first bands to start playing in the bluegrass style, before it was named “bluegrass.”
  • Served as a career launch pad for other influential musicians, including the Goins Brothers, Bobby Osborne, Larry Richardson, Paul Williams, Curly Ray and Charlie Cline, and the Davis Sisters (Skeeter Davis)
  • One of the first bluegrass bands to utilize television.
  • One of the first bluegrass bands to record for a major label.
  • Inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame in 2009.

From the Archives

Album cover for The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers

From the Archives: Album cover for The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, Kentucky Bluegrass.

Cousin Ezra and The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers showing Melvin Goins standing at left holding guitar, and Ray Goins standing at right with banjo.

From the Archives: Cousin Ezra and The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers showing Melvin Goins standing at left holding guitar, and Ray Goins standing at right with banjo. Ray Cline and Ezra Cline are pictured kneeling in between the Goins brothers. Taken at WLSI, Pikeville, Kentucky about 1956. Photo donated by Scotty Cline.

Early incarnation of The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers taken at Gilbert Creek, West Virginia in 1938

From the Archives: Early incarnation of The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers taken at Gilbert Creek, West Virginia in 1938. Front, Ray and Ireland Cline (brothers); back, Zeke Stepp, Ezra Cline in comedy outfit. Donated by Scotty Cline.

“Curly Ray (Cline), the fiddle player in the band, drove over on a Sunday morning and picked us up at an old train station. Never will forget it. I had $5 in my pocket as we headed out over that 100 miles between Bluefield and Pikeville in Curly Ray’s 1947 Plymouth. I won’t forget that first show car, either, that the Fiddlers drove to shows in: a 1950 Buick. We tied the bass fiddle on top. We played theaters, schools, drive-ins … wherever we could. There weren’t any bluegrass festivals back then.”
Melvin Goins, quoted by Walter Tunis, from “Bluegrass Star Melvin Goins Rose From Hard Times to the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame,” The Lexington Herald-Leader, April 3, 2011.
“My dad (Ezra Cline) was a showman. Back then, they had to work on radio to get their names out in the public, but that didn’t pay too much. [So] they had to improvise and come up with ways to keep the band going.”
Scotty Cline, quoted by Bill Archer, from “On the Trail of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers,” by Bill Archer, Goldenseal, Summer, 2010.
“I never thought when I left home in 1949 with an old guitar my dad paid $30 dollars for – with no case – that I’d ever amount to a hill of beans. I never dreamed of nothing like this when I joined the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers. It led to many, many things in bluegrass music.”
Bobby Osborne, quoted by Julia Roberts Goad, from “Lonesome Pine Fiddlers Find Home in Hall of Fame,” The Williamson Daily News, October 9, 2009.
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