Saturday Song: Wade Mainer
Mr. Mainer began recording in the early 1930s with J. E. Mainer and the Mountaineers, led by his older brother, a fiddle player. He introduced a distinctive two-finger style, with the thumb moving downward and the forefinger moving upward, that contrasted with the traditional downward-moving clawhammer stroke. This style gave a modern flavor to traditional tunes and inspired younger players like Don Reno and Earl Scruggs.In the late 1930s Mr. Mainer formed his own group, the Sons of the Mountaineers, which recorded dozens of songs on RCA Victor’s Bluebird label.
“Wade brought the music forward,” said Dick Spottswood, the author of “Banjo on the Mountain: Wade Mainer’s First Hundred Years” (2010). “In the 1920s, the banjo stayed in the background, providing counterpoint and rhythm. He made it prominent, and laid the groundwork for bluegrass in the 1940s.”