Fans of Bill Monroe, the country pioneer widely known as “The Father of Bluegrass Music,” are to have the unique opportunity to own his name, image and likeness.
Described by modern-day bluegrass and country star Ricky Skaggs as “the biggest single influence in country music,” Monroe is a member of both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1939 and, with his group the Blue Grass Boys, had epic stints at both Columbia and Decca Records. He died in 1996 at the age of 84.
The chance to own the rights is being overseen by Tony Conway, president and CEO of the Bill Monroe Estate in Nashville. He says: “While at Buddy Lee Attractions, I was the agent for Bill Monroe for over ten years. I thought of Mr. Monroe as a national treasure. He was like a grandfather to me. We were good friends.”
The ownership also includes rights to the Blue Grass Boys’ name, and the BillMonroe.com website rights are also available, along with other elements of his legacy such as Uncle Pen’s Cabin, in his home town of Rosine, Kentucky. Monroe’s home as a teenager, it inspired his famous hit ‘Uncle Pen,’ later covered by Skaggs as well as Hank Williams, Jr and Buck Owens.
A collection of Monroe memorabilia, including personal papers, his record collection and one of his fiddles, is also on offer; another package features over 250 live recordings from his Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival, founded in 1967 and still thriving 50 years later; and another has parts of Monroe’s Gibson 1923 Lloyd Loar mandolin.