Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
MAINER, J.E., and Wade Mainer
(b 20 July 1898, Buncombe County NC; d 12 July 1971) Old-time country singer, fiddle player, bandleader. String band J.E. Mainer's Mountaineers was at the forefront of the transition of old-time string band music to the more vibrant post-WWII bluegrass styles. He appeared on various local radio stations in the early 1930s, recorded for Bluebird '35 (including 'Maple On the Hill') until WWII; joined King Records '46 with his sons; continued touring and on radio through to '60s. He recorded for Arhoolie '62-4, then Rural Rhythm '67-70, and performed at festivals until shortly before his death.
The early Mountaineers band included Snuffy Jenkins (banjo, Earl Scruggs's main influence), George and Zeke Morris, Leonard Stokes and younger brother Wade Mainer (b 21 April 1907; d 12 September 2011). Wade was also an influential banjo player; he formed Sons of the Mountaineers with Clyde Moody, Steve Ledford and Jack and Curly Shelton '36, recorded for Bluebird '41, appeared in a BBC (UK) production of The Chisholm Trail '43 recorded in New York; recorded for King '47-51; turned increasingly to religious music, still appearing at festivals early '90s. J.E.'s albums included J.E. Mainer's Crazy Mountaineers '67 on Old Timey; Good Ole Mountain Music '60 and A Variety Album '61 on King; The Legendary Family From The Blue Ridge Mountains '63 on Arhoolie; Old Time Mountain Music '67 on Rural Rhythm. Wade's albums: The Songs Of Wade Mainer '73 on County; Soulful Sacred Songs '61 on King; Sacred Songs Of Mother And Home '71, From The Maple To The Hill '76, Old Time Songs '80, String Band Music '90, Old Time Gospel Favourites '93, all on Old Homestead. Legendary Family is probably the same material as Run Mountain on an Arhoolie CD, 23 songs with two Mainer sons and a daughter as well as Earl Cheeks and Otis Overcash on bass and mandolin. The early work needs transfer to CD.