About The Artist
Alexander "Uncle Eck" Dunford was a native of Ballard's Branch, Virginia. This community later became part of the small independent city of Galax, along the Carroll-Grayson County line. Little is known of his youth, but he did develop into a quality fiddler and guitarist. Many viewed him as more educated than most of his neighbors.
In 1908, he married Callie Frost. Unfortunately, she died in 1921. Some of her relatives, Hattie, Irma and Bolen Frost, were into string music as well as Hattie's husband Ernest Stoneman whom she had married in 1918. From 1924, he began contacts with record companies which would lead to a musical career. In addition to his fiddle and guitar talents, Uncle Eck possessed what Tony Russell termed a unique and "matchless mountain brogue" which he would demonstrate on Stoneman-led "rural drama" skits, a few songs and monologues in 1927 and 1928.
Dunford songs included his fiddling and vocal on such numbers as "Old Shoes and Leggin'" and "Angeline, the Baker." Highlights of his four monologues included "My First Bicycle Ride" and "The Savingest Man on Earth." Although credited to the Stoneman Family, "Going Up the Mountain After Liquor" was almost all Uncle Eck and he also shone on "Possum Trot School Exhibition." In all, he appeared at the two Victor sessions in Bristol and another in Atlanta in 1927 and 1928.
After most of the Stonemans relocated to the Washington, D. C. area, Dunford formed a close association with the Ward family from Grayson County. He was part of the Bogtrotters band that recorded for the Library of Congress. On the side, he worked as a photographer and sold vegetables.
Eck resided in a one-room cabin in the Ballard's Branch section of Galax and was a familiar figure at the Fiddler's Convention in the early years. As age began to catch up with him, according to former Stoneman fiddler Kahle Brewer, he earned small amounts of money by selling pencils on the streets of Galax. His death at 78 was noted at the 1953 Galax Convention.
Credits & Sources
|Printer Friendly Version
Yes, Hillbilly Music. You may perhaps wonder why. You may even snicker. But trust us, soon your feet will start tappin' and before you know it, you'll be comin' back for more...Hillbilly Music.
It's about the people, the music, the history.
Copyright © 2000—2023 Hillbilly-Music.com