Stonemans, The


  • From Galax, Virginia.
  • Earnest V. “Pop” Stoneman was one of the early pioneers of recorded country music (his first record was made on September 4, 1924 for Okeh records). He is known as the first person to ever make a record playing the autoharp. Likewise he the only country musician to record on both Edison cylinders and modern stereo recordings.
  • Pop sired 23 children, many of whom were musically gifted.
  • The first Stoneman Family Band began performing in the 1950’s at the Hotel Charles in Hughesville, Maryland. They were also known as “The Bluegrass Champs.”
  • During their heydey, the group included Pop (autoharp, guitar), Scotty (fiddle), Van (guitar), Donna (mandolin), Roni (banjo) and Jimmy (bass). They recorded several albums for MGM, Starday, RCA, Liberty and other labels.
  • They rose to popularity during the 1960’s folk music boom. They moved to Los Angeles and for a season had their own TV show. They also appeared on the Jimmy Dean Variety Show and played the Fillmore Auditorium, the UCLA Folk Festival and the Monterrey Folk Festival. While they were in LA, fiddler Scotty Stoneman also performed with the Kentucky Colonels.
  • 1967, they were voted Vocal Group of the Year by the Country Music Association.
  • 1968, Pop died but the group continued to perform together in various forms until the early 1990’s.
  • 1973, Scotty died.
  • 1973, Roni (real name Veronica) Stoneman joined the cast of the “Hee Haw” television series.
  • Donna was often called “The First Lady of the Mandolin.”
  • 1995, Van died.
  • 2000, The Stoneman Family was presented with the IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award.
  • 2001, Jimmy died.
  • 2003, Roni formed her own band called Hillbilly Fever.
  • 2008, Pop Stoneman was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.