Pressing On: The Roni Stoneman Story

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University of Illinois Press, Mar 23, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 248 pages
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The tragicomic life story of one of America's best-known country entertainers, told with warmth and honesty

This book recounts the fascinating life of Roni Stoneman, the youngest daughter of the pioneering country music family, and a girl who, in spite of poverty and abusive husbands, eventually became "The First Lady of Banjo," a fixture on the Nashville scene, and, as Hee Haw's Ironing Board Lady, a comedienne beloved by millions of Americans nationwide.

Drawn from over seventy-five hours of recorded interviews, Pressing On reveals that Roni is also a master storyteller. In her own words and with characteristic spunk and candor, she describes her "pooristic" ("way beyond 'poverty-stricken'") Appalachian childhood, and how she learned from her brother Scott to play the challenging and innovative three-finger banjo picking style developed by Earl Scruggs. She also warmly recounts Hee Haw-era adventures with Minnie Pearl, Roy Clark, and Buck Owens; her encounters as a musician with country greats including Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, June Carter, and Patsy Cline; as well as her personal struggles with shiftless and violent husbands, her relationships with her children, and her musical life after Hee Haw.

A volume in the series Music in American Life

 

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Pressing on: the Roni Stoneman story

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Stoneman, who rose to fame in Nashville and beyond for her astounding live musical performances and television appearances on the popular variety showHee Haw , has been called "The First Lady of Banjo ... Read full review

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Contents

1 Family
1
Aunt Jack
13
3 My Childhood
15
4 Music
25
5 Learning the Banjo
34
6 Education
44
7 Sex Education
47
8 First Love
51
17 George
113
18 Scotty
123
19 Hee Haw
128
Illustrations follow page 150
150
20 George after Hee Haw
151
21 The Kids
153
22 The Real Thing
160
23 My Bronze Uterus
170

9 My Brothers and Sisters
53
10 The Performing Stonemans
61
Illustrations follow page 64
64
11 First Marriage
65
12 The Stoneman Family Band Comes Together
78
13 Opry
81
Glen RoquevortTony lake
84
15 Out West
90
16 Nashville
96
24 On the Road
172
25 Husbands 3 4 and 5
194
26 Losing Hee Haw
216
27 My Religion
225
28 Now
232
Afterword
237
Index
241
back cover
261
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Ellen Wright conducted the interviews with Roni and arranged and edited the transcriptions. In 2005, she was named the Charles Deering McCormick University Distinguished Lecturer at Northwestern University, where she teaches in the Writing Program

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