Graves, “Uncle Josh”


  • From Tellico Plains, Tennessee.
  • Real name: Burkett Howard Graves. Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper called him Buck. Upon joining Flatt and Scruggs, he took on the persona of “Uncle Josh,” part of the Foggy Mountain Boys comedy routine.
  • He is generally regarded as the man who introduced the Dobro™ to bluegrass music. He was the first to use Earl Scruggs’ three-finger roll with the Dobro™, giving it a new sound and new life. Dobro master Jerry Douglas and many other musicians were inspired by the music of Josh Graves.
  • Josh’s first Dobro™ is named “Julie.” He bought it for $70 in 1947 and played it throughout his career. He also played an instrument called “Cliff,” named after Cliff Carlisle, it’s previous owner.
  • 1947-1954, worked with Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper as well as Mac Wiseman.
  • 1954-1969, worked with Flatt and Scruggs.
  • 1969-1971, worked with Lester Flatt and the Nashville Grass.
  • 1971-1984, worked with The Earl Scruggs Revue.
  • During the 80’s and 90’s, he performed primarily in a duo with fiddler Kenny Baker.
  • 1991-2, performed with The Masters—a quartet with Eddie Adcock, Jesse McReynolds and Kenny Baker.
  • 1997, he was inducted into the IBMA’s Hall of Fame.
  • In his later years, had health problems which led to the amputation of both legs. Eddie Adcock built him a device to hold his instrument, allowing him to peform until shortly before his death.
  • 2012, his autobiography was published by the University of Illinois Press, Bluegrass Bluesman: Josh Graves, A Memoir edited by Fred Bartenstein.
  • Died September 30, 2006.