Roy Harper, beloved country singer, died at 96

Beloved country singer Roy Harper has passed away. Harper died in mid-October at the age of 96, on Tennessee Folklore Society confirmed. In a statement, the organization said: “We are sad to mark the passing of singer and painter Roy Harper”, remembering him as “an admired performer of early country and sentimental songs and a self-taught artist known for his paintings of trains. ”Harper’s cause of death has not been disclosed at this time.

Harper’s death was also confirmed by Spring Fed Records. In an Oct. 18 Facebook post, the band said: “SFR offers its deepest condolences to Roy Harper’s family, friends and fans. Roy was one of the last singers of the time and a legendary traditional musician. from Middle Tennessee. Enjoy these photos from the Roy Harper Collection of the Center for Popular Music, which documents his long career as a musician, painter and railroad worker. “

We are sad to mark the passing of singer and painter Roy Harper of Manchester at the age of 96. Roy was an admired performer …

posted by Tennessee Folklore Society to Monday, October 18, 2021

Born and raised in Coffee County, Tennessee, Harper found his musical inspiration as a young boy on the railroad and yodeling songs by Jimmie Rodgers, according to the Tennessee Arts Commission. After leaving home to work on the railroads at the age of 20, Harper began performing as a traveling musician. He achieved success in the Manchester, Tennessee area in the 1940s and 1950s for his partnership with Hawaiian guitarist Blake Bynum in the Sand Mountain Boys. Harper’s prolific recording career began in the 1960s when “he began recording his huge repertoire of ‘blue yodels’ and sentimental songs.” It was also around this time that Harper developed a reputation as a self-taught painter of railway scenes.

Over the course of his decades-long musical career, Harper produced 23 albums, his Profile of the Governor’s Award for the Arts Remarks. He has also performed regularly at traditional music festivals, including the Jimmie Rodgers Memorial Festival and the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife. Harper was also inducted into the Traditional Country Music Hall of Fame.

News of Harper’s death sparked a wave of tributes. Reacting to the Spring Fed Record statement confirming Harper’s death, one person said the musician “was a true country artist and a good friend.” Someone else added that they were sending “prayers for family and friends. I love his music.”

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