Curly Seckler

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Curly Seckler
Birth name John Ray Sechler
Born(1919-12-25)December 25, 1919
China Grove, North Carolina
DiedDecember 27, 2017(2017-12-27) (aged 98)
Nashville, Tennessee
Genres bluegrass
Occupation(s) Musician, vocalist
Instruments vocals, guitar, mandolin, tenor banjo
Years active 1930s–2017
Associated acts Nashville Grass, Ramblin' Tommy Scott

John Ray Sechler, known as Curly Seckler, (December 25, 1919 – December 27, 2017) was an American bluegrass musician. He played with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs in their band the Foggy Mountain Boys from 1949 to 1962, among other major bluegrass acts during his lengthy career in music.

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Lester Raymond Flatt was an American bluegrass guitarist and mandolinist, best known for his collaboration with banjo picker Earl Scruggs in The Foggy Mountain Boys.

Earl Scruggs American musician

Earl Eugene Scruggs was an American musician noted for popularizing a three-finger banjo picking style, now called "Scruggs style," which is a defining characteristic of bluegrass music. His three-finger style of playing was radically different from the traditional way the five-string banjo had previously been played. This new style of playing became popular and elevated the banjo from its previous role as a background rhythm instrument to featured solo status. He popularized the instrument across several genres of music.


Early years

Born to Carrie and Calvin Sechler in China Grove, North Carolina, on December 25, 1919, "Curly" was destined to have a huge contribution on Bluegrass music. [1] In his youth and formative years, Seckler learned to play music from his parents. His father, Calvin, played old time fiddle, harmonica, and autoharp, while his mother taught him how to play the organ. Seckler like most of his local contemporaries, was forced into a life of labor, tirelessly working in a local cotton mill for sustenance with his brothers. However, this laborious sentencing did not hamper his musical development, Seckler found time to keep up his love for music, expanding his musical knowledge by picking up the five string banjo. Seckler began learning the instrument from local musician, Happy Trexler. [2]

China Grove, North Carolina City in North Carolina, United States

China Grove is a city in Rowan County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 3,563 at the 2010 census. The city is located just north of Landis and south of Salisbury.

Autoharp musical string instrument

The autoharp is a musical instrument in the chorded zither family. It features a series of chord bars attached to dampers, which, when pressed, mute all of the strings other than those that form the desired chord. Although the word autoharp was originally a trademark of the Oscar Schmidt company, the term has colloquially come to be used for any hand-held, chorded zither, regardless of manufacturer.


In the early years of his professional career, Seckler accompanied his brothers George and Duard, playing the tenor banjo and providing vocal harmonies. The group was called the Yodeling Rangers and were propelled to local stardom in 1935, when they were invited to perform daily on the radio in Salisbury, North Carolina. [2] With a fresh new name, the Trail Riders, soon began playing steadily throughout the south-eastern US. Soon the word got around, the Trail Riders had some of the finest musicians around and this notoriety caught the eye of Charlie Monroe, brother of Bill Monroe, and former guitarist of the acclaimed Monroe Brothers. After their breakup, Charlie was looking for new musicians to play with on the emerging Bluegrass circuit. He proposed that Seckler join him on tour. The nineteen-year-old agreed and received twenty dollars a week. [2]

Salisbury, North Carolina City in North Carolina, United States

Salisbury is a city in the Piedmont of North Carolina; it is the county seat of Rowan County. Located 44 miles northeast of Charlotte and within its metropolitan area, the town has attracted a growing population. This was 33,663 in the 2010 Census.

Charlie Monroe American musician

Charlie Monroe was an American country and bluegrass music guitarist.

Bill Monroe American bluegrass musician

William Smith Monroe was an American mandolinist, singer, and songwriter, who helped to create the style of music known as bluegrass. Because of this, he is commonly referred to as the "Father of Bluegrass".

Seckler continued to enjoy success on the Bluegrass touring circuit and in 1949 joined Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, and the rest of the Foggy Mountain Boys band. In this new ensemble, Seckler continued to sing tenor harmonies, but switched to the mandolin. During this time, he developed the "Chop" rhythm technique which helped to propel the rhythm section of The Foggy Mountain Boys sound. Seckler stayed with the Foggy Mountain Boys until 1962. Upon Lester Flatt's death in 1979, Seckler returned to Bluegrass as leader of the Nashville Grass band. Seckler held this position until his retirement in 1994 ( Seckler AP). [3]

The Foggy Mountain Boys were an American bluegrass band. The band was founded by guitarist Lester Flatt and banjo player Earl Scruggs and is viewed by music historians as one of the premier bluegrass groups in the history of the genre. The band was originally formed in 1948 by Flatt, who had been a member of Bill Monroe's bluegrass band. Flatt brought Scruggs with him shortly after leaving Monroe.

In music, a chop chord is a "clipped backbeat". In 4
: 1 2 3 4. It is a muted chord that marks the off-beats or upbeats. As a rhythm guitar and mandolin technique, it is accomplished through chucking, in which the chord is muted by lifting the fretting fingers immediately after strumming, producing a percussive effect.

The chop is analogous to a snare drum beat and keeps the rhythm together and moving. It's one of the innovations bluegrass inventor Bill Monroe pioneered, and it gave the music a harder groove and separated it from old-time and mountain music.

The Nashville Grass was a bluegrass band founded by Lester Flatt in 1969, after the end of his partnership with Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys. Flatt hired most of the Foggy Mountain Boys for his new band.

Later years and death

The International Bluegrass Music Association honored Seckler in 2004 by inducting him into its International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame; [4] Seckler was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2010. [5] His release of "Sixty Years of Bluegrass with My Friends" in 2005 on the Copper Creek label solidified Seckler's place as one of the pioneers of the genre and steward of customs and traditions. Throughout his career, Seckler played with Jim and Jesse McReynolds, Mac Wiseman, the Stanley Brothers, the Nashville Grass, Doyle Lawson, and many others. Seckler died in his sleep on December 27, 2017, just two days after his 98th birthday. [6] [7]

Induction to the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, called the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor from its creation in 1991 through 2006, is managed by the International Bluegrass Music Association, and the Hall itself is maintained at the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum, Owensboro, Kentucky.

The North Carolina Music Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization and museum in Kannapolis, North Carolina that was created to honor musicians, composers and artists with ties to North Carolina that have made significant impact in the music industry. The museum serves as a clearinghouse for North Carolina musicians from all time periods, and preserves a number of memorabilia artifacts for public display.

Further reading

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

Related Research Articles

Bluegrass music is a form of American roots music. It was named by Bill Monroe who named his band The Blue Grass Boys. The 1939–1996 band of Kentucky mandolin player and songwriter Bill Monroe, who is considered "the father of bluegrass". The Blue Grass Boys played a Mountain Music style that Bill learned in Asheville, North Carolina from bands like Wade Mainer's and other popular acts on radio station WWNC. It was further developed by musicians who played with him, including 5-string banjo player Earl Scruggs and guitarist Lester Flatt. It was then evolved by other musicians who admired the high-energy instrumental and vocal music Monroe's group created, and who carried it on into new bands, some of which created subgenres of bluegrass.

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  1. Parsons, Penny. 2016. Foggy Mountain Troubadour: The Life and Music of Curly Seckler. Champaign: University of Illinois Press.
  2. 1 2 3 Rovi, Margaret Reges,. "Curly Seckler Biography". AMG. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  3. associatedpress [ full citation needed ]
  4. "International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame". International Bluegrass Music Association. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  5. "2010 Inductees". North Carolina Music Hall of Fame. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
  6. "Bluegrass Pioneer Curly Seckler has Passed Away - Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News". Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  7. "Bluegrass Hall of Famer played alongside Flatt & Scruggs, remembered as 'unsung hero'". Retrieved 28 December 2017.