About Gene Christian
Fiddler Gene Christian was a member of Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys in the late '40s, putting him pretty much in the front gate of the bluegrass derby. During an era when some old-time music players began radically transforming the feel of the music they played, Christian ventured out on an unchartered road, taking the place of veteran fiddler Benny Martin in the popular Monroe combo in 1949; before becoming an important member of Frank Hunter and the Black Mountain Boys. This outfit's leader was a fine vocalist and guitarist whose voice was a perfect match for Christian's. Other members of the Black Mountain Boys included the excellent banjo picker Pee Wee Buttrey and sturdy bassist Junior Husky. In the early '50s, this group had a regular 5:45 a.m. broadcast out of Pulaski, TN, coming on directly before Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt, who were perhaps awarded the more desirable 6 a.m. slot out of "bluegrasseniority." For the next two years, the group worked fairly regularly, including a trip to Louisiana to appear on the Louisiana Hayride, the sound of the band's new bluegrass style causing eyebrows to raise. The start of the bluegrass recording industry helped spread the world about this new music and its creators. Christian and friends cut several sides for Rich R Tone, a one-man operation distributing slabs of bluegrass in much the same way as bottles of white lightning: from town to town, out of the trunk of his car.
Christian eventually was the host of a 90-minute show on WLAC in Nashville, which also featured a country performer named Big Jeff. He relocated to Florida, working in the '70s with country & western bands in Miami such as Gene Christian and His Nashville Gents, as well as actively working for the South Florida Bluegrass Association. His early recordings have been singled out as influential by star fiddlers in country music such as Vassar Clements. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi