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Who Bluegrass Hall of Honor Inductees
What Bluegrass Hall of Honor to Induct The Lilly Brothers & Don Stover, David Freeman
When August 17, 2002
Where Owensboro, KY

IBMA is proud to announce this year's inductees to the Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor are groundbreaking artists, The Lilly Brothers & Don Stover, and respected record company executive, David Freeman.

The inductions will be one of the highpoints of this year's International Bluegrass Music Awards Show slated for October 17, at the Kentucky Center for the Arts in Louisville, Kentucky.

Michael Burt "Bea" Lilly (born December 15, 1921)
Charlie Edwin "Everett" Lilly (born July 1, 1923)
Don Stover (born March 6, 1928)

In mid-1952, The Lilly Brothers & Don Stover began an 18 year partnership, after relocating to Boston at fiddler Tex Logan's invitation. Almost immediately, they began nightly shows at The Plaza Bar but soon moved to another downtown bar, Hillbilly Ranch, historically important as a widely known mecca for fans and visiting nationally recognized artists. Through their performances and influence on others they became pioneers in introducing and relocating professionally performed southern Appalachian music to the upper northeastern region of the U.S., paving the way for future important New England musicians including Joe Val, Peter Rowan, Bill Keith and others.

Bea and Everett Lilly were born in Clear Creek, W. Va., near Beckley and began their musical careers singing in churches and at shows in surrounding states, sharing a style heavily influenced by recordings of The Monroe Brothers and The Blue Sky Boys. Bea played fine rhythm guitar in an earlier style utilizing a thumb and index finger technique and was also a strong lead singer. Everett played mandolin and also sang tenor with Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs from early 1951 until mid-1952, recording 14 sides with The Foggy Mountain Boys, including "Over The Hills To The Poorhouse" and "Earl's Breakdown." His vocal harmony is considered to be among the purest and finest ever recorded in bluegrass music.

Don Stover was born in White Oak, W. Va., and learned to play old time banjo from his mother. He went on to master 'Scruggs-style' banjo and 3-finger style guitar and worked briefly with Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys in 1957, recording 11 sides with Monroe for Decca Records, including "In Despair" and "Goodbye Old Pal." Much later, he recorded several LP's of his own that contained original compositions such as "Things In Life" and "Black Diamond." A good lead singer with a strong, plaintive voice, Stover was a genuine entertainer. Don Stover died November 11, 1996, after a long illness.

The Lilly Brothers with Don Stover recorded their raw-edged, authentic sibling duet harmony on record labels that include Event, Prestige/Folklore, Folkways and County Records, singing the plaintive old mountain ballads and gospel songs. In 2001, Everett and Bea reorganized as "The Lilly Brothers & The Lilly Mountaineers."

Born May 22, 1939

While still in his teens, New York City resident David Freeman was captivated with the sounds and culture of the Southern string bands of the 1920s and 1930s. He sought out the even-then rare, long out of print, 78 rpm records of this music.

Dealing with fellow collectors, he compiled a list of addresses of others with similar interests. Having built a sizable record collection, he began transferring the music from the old discs to vinyl LP's, offering them for sale on the County label by mail order. His company stationary reads, "Out of print records since 1958."

He soon added singles and LP's from small bluegrass labels to his mailout pieces. Thus born in 1965, County Sales is now regarded as the world's largest and most complete mail order source for bluegrass and old-time string band recordings.

As his business steadily expanded, Freeman relocated to Floyd, Va. in 1974 and later purchased Rebel Records in 1980. County Sales remains in Floyd, with Freeman's distribution division, Record Depot, being in nearby Roanoke. Rebel Records is now one of the nation's leading independent labels and its headquarters has been relocated to Charlottesville, Va.

David Freeman is highly respected internationally as an historian, collector and as a businessman. His foresight and work in reissuing, in LP form and now on CD, the music of The Skillet Lickers, Charlie Poole, Grayson & Whittier, The Possum Hunters, Uncle Dave Macon and numerous others, has preserved the wonderful music of these artists when they might have remained available only to a privileged few collectors.

As owner of the prestigious Rebel Records and County Records, Freeman has been involved in recording and developing the careers of artists such as Kenny Baker, Tommy Jarrell, Ralph Stanley, Larry Sparks, Charlie Waller, Lonesome River Band, IIIrd Tyme Out, Blue Highway, Claire Lynch & The Front Porch String Band, Rhonda Vincent, David Parmley, The Lilly Brothers, The Whites, Ricky Skaggs, Lost & Found, Dave Evans, Ronnie Bowman, Valerie Smith, Del McCoury, Karl Shiflett, Paul Williams, Cliff Waldron and others, many of whom had their first significant recordings on the Rebel or County labels.


Bluegrass Music's Hall of Honor is housed in the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky. The museum is an institution devoted to the recognition of noteworthy individuals for their outstanding contributions to bluegrass music. The Hall of Honor was founded in 1991 and is the music industry's highest tribute to the pioneers of bluegrass music and the people who have made it great.


  • 1991: Lester Flatt, Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs
  • 1992: Don Reno & "Red" Smiley, The Stanley Brothers - Carter & Ralph
  • 1993: Jim & Jesse McReynolds, Mac Wiseman
  • 1994: The Osborne Brothers
  • 1995: Jimmy Martin
  • 1996: The Country Gentlemen, Peter V. Kuykendall
  • 1997: Josh Graves
  • 1998: Chubby Wise, Carlton Haney
  • 1999: Kenny Baker
  • 2000: Doc Watson, Lance LeRoy
  • 2001: The Carter Family
  • 2002: The Lilly Brothers & Don Stover, David Freeman

International Bluegrass Music Association

Contact Traci Thomas
Grass Roots Media
traci@grassrootsmedia.com (615) 340-9596


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