Charlie BowmanMarch 06, 2012
Given Name: Charles Thomas Bowman
Date of Birth: July 30, 1889
Place of Birth: Gray Station, TN
Date of Death: May 20, 1962
Place of Death: Gray Station, TN
Charles Thomas "Charlie" Bowman was the fiddler with the original Al Hopkin's Hill Billies, the first country string band to gain national notoriety on radio and records. The Galax, Va., group is generally thought to be responsible for establishing the string band as an important part of country music. When the recording company asked for the group's name, one member mentioned that they were just an "old band of hill billies." The name stuck. Bowman is credited with bringing the Hill Billies their most popular song, "Nine Pound Hammer," which he learned in part from African-American railroad workers in East Tennessee. Bowman also wrote the "East Tennessee Blues," a standard tune among fiddlers today. After the Hill Billies broke up, Bowman performed for a time with his family as the Bowman Brothers. His daughters, the Bowman Sisters, were probably the first country sister duet to ever record. Bowman's own musical career began to decline during the 1930s. He spent the rest of his life painting houses and fiddling occasionally.