- From Haywood County, North Carolina
- One of the earliest “melodic” or “chromatic” style banjo players, who began playing fiddle tunes note-for-note on the banjo in the 1940’s. He influenced such popularizers of the style as Bobby Thompson, Eric Weissberg and Bill Keith.
- Was a farmer most of his life, but played banjo professionally with the Morris Brothers in the 1950’s.
- 1990, received the Lunsford Award at the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Festival at Mars Hill College.
- 1990, was a featured performer on the “Masters of the Banjo” tour organized by the National Council for the Traditional Arts.
- 1994, received the North Carolina Heritage Award
- Died in 1995 at the age of 64. He was shot dead by his brother Sam.
- 2001, Copper Creek Records released an album of his banjo tunes: Say Old Man Can You Play the Banjo.