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Testimonial — Lonnie Hoppers

Lonnie Hoppers
Lonnie Hoppers
Urbana Missouri USA

I received my Grundy 'Flintriver' 5-string banjo a few months ago. It arrived in perfect condition, packed very carefully in a handsome hard shell case. The set-up was perfect when I got it!

I'm delighted & amazed by the Grundy's great tone, excellent playability, sheer beauty & flawless workmanship.

I like a real responsive banjo with a lot of volume & pop! My Grundy 'Flintriver' fills the bill 100%. Everyone who has heard it compares it to the prewar Gibson flathead sound.

It's been a real pleasure doing business with Laurie Grundy.

Lonnie Hoppers

Background on Lonnie Hoppers ... Bluegrass boy

A five decade association with bluegrass & old time country music has carried banjo picker Lonnie Hoppers to stages across the USA & Australia to performances with some of the genre's top musicians, and to recognition for a lifetime of dedication to music.

Lonnie was involved in bluegrass and country music in the infancy years of the forties, through the formative years of the fifties, sixties, seventies and into the excitement years of the last two decades!

Lonnie's banjo performances have included stints with Bill Monroe, duets with Dan Crary and work with and for other bluegrass legends and notables.

A Missouri Ozarks native, Lonnie spent several years as a member of the original "Ozark Opry' troupe at the Lake of the Ozarks, then returned to the Ozarks in the 1980's at Branson's Silver Dollar City and the Plummer Family Country Music Show.

Not ready to rest on his laurels, Lonnie put together a band called Lonnie Hoppers & New Union. The band has been active since 1995.

Lonnie's interest in bluegrass and old time country music goes back as far as he can remember. His grandpa Henry Reeves (Babe) Franklin played the five-string banjo, and his grandpa Samuel Lafayette Hoppers played the fiddle. Lonnie's mother Opal played the banjo, and his dad George played the fiddle.

Bluegrass banjo pickers were rare in the Ozarks in the fifties, he says. I learned the basic rolls from Herb Harris of Kansas City. Then I ran into musicians Bob McCoy and Bob Penny of nearby Hermitage, Missouri. We sat night after night learning the songs of Bill Monroe, Don Reno or Earl Scruggs that we heard on radio stations WSM in Nashville, Tennessee, and XERA from Del Rio, Texas.

Hoppers, McCoy and Penny all performed together for several years at the Ozark Opry.

In the mid-fifties I jammed and swapped licks regularly with Doug Dillard, John Hartford, Dale Sledd, Dean Webb and Howard Rash, Hoppers recalls.

For a while Hoppers and Sledd teamed with former Porter Waggoner band members Don Russell, Urel Albert and Granville Nichols in a group that performed on the road for the Ozark Jubilee program that was nationally broadcast from Springfield, Missouri.

In the sixties and seventies Dan Crary and Lonnie played regularly as a duet, Crary using his picking talents to provide Doc Watson style licks and adding some licks that emulated Hoppers banjo rolls. Dan and Lonnie didn't record together until 2000. They recorded a project for Pinecastle records called Crary, Hoppers and their American Band.

The Father of Bluegrass Music Mr Bill Monroe asked Lonnie in 1962 (for the third time) to join his band and become one of the Blue Grass Boys. He just couldn't pass it up that time! Lonnie moved to Nashville where he performed regularly with Bill on the 'Grand Ole Opry'. Lonnie says I really enjoyed those performances and the music legends I met and performed with such as Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow etc.

During his tenure with Bill Monroe, Lonnie recorded twelve songs with him on Decca records. These are all included on the Bear Family Records four-CD box set called "Bill Monroe Bluegrass 1959-69".

His own recordings have included an instrumental bluegrass album called "Lonnie Hoppers & Friends, Pickin' For Fun", and "Old Country Church". These projects were recorded while he was performing in Branson. His latest recorded project is called 'Grass Hoppin'.

While still active in promoting and performing bluegrass music, Hoppers was recognized recently with a lifetime achievement award for his five decades of bluegrass and old time music promotion. The award was presented by the Central Country Music News.

The soft-spoken Hoppers says, "I was thrilled to receive the award--especially because it was for a lifetime achievement. I have had a lot of good times and have met a lot of good people during my bluegrass music experiences."

And with his current performance schedule, Hoppers appears to still have several bluegrass music achievements ahead of him.

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