Lonesome Pine Fiddlers

The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers (1938- 1966) were an early bluegrass band which included such notable "first generation" bluegrass musicians as Ezra Cline, Bobby Osborne, Paul Williams, Melvin Goins, Charlie Cline, Curly Ray Cline, Larry Richardson and for a short time Jimmy Martin. The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers were inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Fame in 2009.


The group was started by Ezra Cline and Curly Ray Cline and was originally named "Cousin Ezra and the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers". The Clines came from a large family consisting of musically talented people. Ray and Charlie's father, Charlie, was a banjo player and the women in the family, Geraldine and Bobbi, were singers. For reasons unknown, Bobbi and Geraldine never joined the band on the road but often joined in at home, especially when notable Country singers, such as Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, and Hank Williams, came visiting. Natives of the Gilbert Creek region of southern West Virginia, Cousin Ezra, along with brothers Ireland (Lazy Ned) and Curly Ray Cline, were part of the original Lonesome Pine Fiddlers from about 1938, a group that worked on radio at WHIS Bluefield, West Virginia.

In 1949, the additions of vocalist Bobby Osborne and banjoist Larry Richardson made the Fiddlers into a Bluegrass band. The group was first recorded in 1950, releasing a double-sided, shellac disk with the tracks "Don't Forget Me" and "Will I Meet Mother in Heaven" under label Cozy Records. At this time the band consisted of Ezra Cline, Larry Richardson, Ray Morgan, and Bobby Osborne. Throughout the remainder of their career, the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers would record 4 albums under Starday Records and many EPs under RCA Victor, Starday, and others.

During World War II, Ned was killed in action. When the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers resumed regular daily broadcasts, Charlie, who played multiple instruments, joined them on a regular basis. Charlie returned to the Fiddlers briefly before becoming a member of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys. During 1952-1955, Charlie worked off and on with Monroe, recording some 38 songs, all on Decca. It has been said that he played every instrument at one time or another in the Monroe group except mandolin. Charlie spent most of 1953 back with the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers working at WJR radio in Detroit. When Ezra brought the band to Pikeville, Kentucky, in November, Charlie rejoined Bill Monroe. In 1954, Charlie did a session, playing lead guitar, with the Stanley Brothers and also another one on RCA with the Fiddlers, although he was not otherwise working with them at the time. He also worked briefly as a sideman with the Osborne Brothers, although he did not record with them. By 1958, Charlie (electric lead guitar) and his wife, Lee (electric bass), had rejoined Ezra and Curly Ray in the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, who were experimenting with a more modern sound and working a TV show in Huntington, West Virginia, in addition to daily radio in Pikeville.

On October 1, 2009, the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers were inducted into the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame. Bobby Osborne, Melvin Goins, and Paul Williams received the band's award during a ceremony at the Ryman Auditorium (the original home of the Grand Ole Opry). A performance of Fiddlers tune "Pain In My Heart" by Osborne, Goins, and Williams was part of the closing act of the awards ceremony.


  • Rosenberg, Neil V. Bluegrass: A History. University of Illinois Press. 1985.
  • Wright, John. Travelling the High Way Home: Ralph Stanley and the World of Traditional Bluegrass Music. University of Illinois Press. 1993.