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DON RENO, RED SMILEY (AND THE TENNESSEE CUT-UPS)

  • One of the of the pioneering first-generation bluegrass bands.
  • Very popular and influential throughout the 50’s and 60’s.
  • Worked numerous radio and television shows across the south, including the Old Dominion Barn Dance in Richmond, VA and the “Top of the Morning” TV show in Roanoke, VA. They also made guest appearances on the Arthur Godfrey TV Show.
  • They incorporated elaborate comedy routines and skits into their act. As comedians, they were known as “Chicken and Pansy Hot-Rod and the Banty-Roosters.”
  • Last album recorded together: May, 1971, Letter Edged in Black (Wango Records).
  • Smiley died in 1972. Bill Harrell replaced Red for about a dozen years, and Don kept the Tennessee Cut-ups together until his own death in 1984.
  • Reno and Smiley’s personal manager for many years was Carlton Haney, organizer of the first bluegrass festival in 1965 (Fincastle, VA).
  • 1992, Reno and Smiler were inducted together into the IBMA’s Hall of Fame.

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