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Lonesome Pine Fiddlers


The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers were West Virginia’s pioneer bluegrass band, based for many years beginning in 1938 at WHIS radio in Bluefield. Bass player Ezra Cline (1907–84) led the group, while fiddler Curly Ray Cline (1923–97) was their key musical figure. Other significant members included Charlie Cline (1931-2004), Ned Cline (1921–44), Melvin Goins (b. 1933), Ray Goins (1936-2007) and Paul Williams (b. ca. 1934). Ezra was a cousin to brothers Curly Ray, Charlie, and Ned Cline, and all were from Baisden in Logan County. The Fiddlers had an old-time string band sound until Larry Richardson and Bob Osborne joined them in 1949 on banjo and mandolin, recording for Cozy Records in 1950. After that, the Fiddlers had a bluegrass sound. They recorded 22 sides for RCA Victor from 1952 through 1954, including ‘‘Dirty Dishes Blues’’ and ‘‘Windy Mountain.’’

The band left West Virginia in 1953, going first to WJR Detroit and then to WSLI Pikeville, Kentucky. In the early 1960s, they recorded albums for Starday and did television at WCYB Bristol, but slowly became less active. In 1966, Curly Ray Cline joined the Stanley Brothers and subsequently fiddled for Ralph Stanley until retiring in 1993. As the colorful cornerstone of Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys, Curly Ray was a figure in the bluegrass revival and influential in the traditional side of the music. Charlie Cline remained musically active in Alabama, but the Goins Brothers band—led by two Bramwell natives—have remained more faithful to the original Lonesome Pine Fiddlers bluegrass sound.

Written by Ivan M. Tribe


  1. Tribe, Ivan M. Mountaineer Jamboree: Country Music in West Virginia. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1984.