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Birch Monroe (May 16, 1901 – 1982) was a notable early bluegrass fiddler, bassist, founding member of the Monroe brothers, and older brother to Bill Monroe. Birch, along with his brother Charlie left the Monroe family farm in Rosine, Kentucky in the 1920s to work in the booming northern factories of the time. When Bill joined them in 1929 they were working in East Chicago at the Sinclair Oil refinery. There, the brothers played local venues and dances. Birch, with his brothers played on WAE in Hammond and also performed weekly on WJKS in Gary. In 1932, Birch, Charlie, and Bill, along with a friend, Larry Moore, were hired as exhibition square dancers for the national barn dance radio program, broadcast from Chicago. In 1934, Birch chose the stability of working at the refinery to support his sisters while Charlie and Bill went on to perform on KFNF in Shenandoah, Iowa.

Birch later joined Bill in 1946 on a recording session in Chicago; a session that included Earl Scruggs. Birch sang bass on the gospel number "Wicked Path of Sin." Birch would play bass on tour with Bill after Howard Watts left the band. Birch Monroe was also manager, in the early 1960s, of Bill Monroe's country music park, the Brown County Jamboree, in Bean Blossom, Indiana.


  • Rosenberg, Neil V. Bluegrass: a History. Urbana: University of Illinois, 2005. Print.
  • Smith, Richard D. Can't You Hear Me Callin': the Life of Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo, 2001. Print.

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birch_Monroe — Please support Wikipedia.
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5 news items

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News
Thu, 09 Jul 2015 21:07:30 -0700

On display are several rare artifacts including Mother Maybelle Carter's autoharp, Birch Monroe's fiddle and case, performance attire worn by Earl Scruggs and Jimmy Martin, and much more. A large portion of this exhibit was made possible through the ...


Wed, 18 Apr 2012 16:26:07 -0700

The family — both as subject matter and creative unit — has been the keystone of country music since its inception. When Ralph Peer lugged his recording machinery to the Virginia-Tennessee border town of Bristol in 1927 to give wings to the fledgling ...

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News
Sat, 15 Sep 2012 21:07:30 -0700

This beautiful, peaceful, and majestic setting is where Bill, Charlie, and Birch Monroe grew up and learned the roots of what was to eventually evolve into what we know as bluegrass music. Their formative years on Jerusalem Ridge, the sounds and sights ...

Mandolin Cafe

Mandolin Cafe
Tue, 20 Dec 2011 10:07:40 -0800

Bill Monroe, brother Birch Monroe and their loyal supporters tried to keep straight-ahead bluegrass on stage at Bean Blossom. Newgrass musicians did appear there in the early 1970s, but it was notable because newgrass music managed to appear at such a ...
Mon, 18 May 2009 23:01:33 -0700

During the late '30s and the war years of the '40s, approximately 3.3 million rural southerners -—nearly 20 percent of the South's population—moved into cities both North and South in search of better employment. Bill, Charlie, and Birch Monroe were ...

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