Benny SimsMarch 06, 2012
Benny Sims (Johnson City, Tennessee d. March, 1996) left an indelible mark on the bluegrass music world during his time with Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys from 1949- 50. Sims fiddled on the first recordings of such classics as "Pike County Breakdown," "Little Girl In Tennessee," and "Foggy Mountain Breakdown." And it was Sims' singing that helped make "Old Salty Dog Blues" the classic that it is today. Sims left the group to become a staff musician on the WNOX "Mid-Day Merry-Go-Round" and "Tennessee Barn Dance" in Knoxville, Tenn.
Sims played with Jack & Curly Shelton in the late 1940s. In 1954, he joined the "BonnyLou and Buster Moore" program on WJHL-TV in Johnson City, Tenn., and stayed with them for almost nine years. Sims retired from music in the 1960s and went on to become an insurance salesman in the Johnson City-area, as well as a formidable fiddle teacher, producing several instructional books for Joe Morrell Music Distributors.
Sims taught young Hunter Berry — currently a fiddler for Rhonda Vincent & The Rage — how to play. Although he passed away in 1996, Sims still inspires young bluegrass musicians through a scholarship sponsored by the BCMA in his name.