MOUNTAIN GROWN MUSIC CELEBRATING THE TRADITIONAL MOUNTAIN MUSIC OF HAYWOOD COUNTY NORTH CAROLINA
A radio personality, guitar player and folk ballad singer, Jimmy Haynie lived a full life of entertaining crowds and sharing his love for music.
Born on Dec. 19, 1924 in Canton, N.C., Haynie caught the music bug quite early. By the time he was 14 years old, he was already playing on Ashevilles WWNC radio station. Though he lost both of his legs to amputation after a train accident, Haynie built a reputation with his beautiful voice and was crowned the nations top ballad singer at the 1952 National Folk Festival in Warrenton, W.V. Haynie performed alongside stars such as Conway Twitty, Grampa Jones and Ronnie Milsap. In Cincinnati, he was part of the entertainment group, Midwestern Hayride, a TV and radio show which boasted it reached one tenth of America.
Haynie sang favorites like On Top of Old Smoky and Johnsons Old Gray Mule and later on in his career, he took his voice to radio and became a popular deejay for the WWIT and WPTL stations in Haywood County. He also emceed the Canton Labor Day and Smoky Mountain Mountain Folk festivals.
Haynie died on Aug. 21, 1987, at the age of 62.
If you didn't turn on Jimmy Haynie this morning... you probably didn't turn your radio on!!
I really revered this man. ... He played anything that had strings on it.
He couldn't read a note of music. It's just a gift from God.
Jimmy was always a welcomed emcee and ballad singer. In his life, he was available to play when you called on him
To my friend, Jimmy Haynie who showed me (and my kids) how to find gems on this planet.
of the ballad - Jimmy Haynie
Decorated with two mother-of-pearl doves on its face, the guitar was a coveted instrument in its prime, though it was nicked during a gig in Hendersonville by Ronnie Milsap.
But now the strings are silent.
who died a decade ago in 1987, found national stardom performing ballads
and folk songs during the 1950s.
An accomplished singer who played guitar, fiddle, stand-up bass, mandolin and banjo, Haynie was active in the community, performing at Camp Hope, Lake Logan and Pisgah View Ranch.
He also regularly emceed the Canton Labor Day and Smoky Mountain Folk festivals.
Born in Canton on Dec. 19, 1924, and raised in nearby Fiberville during the Great Depression, Haynie caught the music bug early. At 14, he played on Asheville's WWNC radio station.
"He started very young," said Rosa Lee Haynie, his wife of 40 years who lives in Canton. "He started with a mandolin, I think."
musical career could very well have ended in a freak accident when Jimmy
was 16 years old. He and some friends were jumping over the hitches
between train cars one day as a train moved slowly down the tracks.
Jimmy slipped, and the oncoming train ran over his legs.
Haynie would joke to friends about turning up the heat in a car because
his feet were freezing.
trout fisherman as well, Haynie would take off his prosthetic legs,
wade out into the wateractually floating downstreamand carry
his fly-rod in his mouth until he found the right place to fish, his
People wondered why she would want to marry a handicapped person, but she had a simple answer: "They've got love just like everybody else."
Haynie may have lost part of himself in the train accident, but he never lost the love for music.
in the hospital, he'd play an accordion to get the attention of nurses,
his wife remembered.
Playing one of his favoritesOn Top of Old SmokyHaynie found his true love as a balladeer.
that's what he enjoyed the most," his wife recalled.
remembered Haynie as the greatest of all mountain folk singers and a
man born to be an entertainer. At a time when country music was in its
heyday, Jimmy could have worked anywhere, but he chose radio, Hannah
By the late 1960s and early 1970s, Haynie was deejaying for two Canton radio stationsWWIT and WPTLeven though he had no previous deejaying experience. Getting up at 4:30 in the morning weekdays, he'd broadcast for a live early morning show.
"He was quite popular on the radio,"said Rose. "He liked to carry onkid with people."
never liked reading from a script instead he talked off the top of his
head, according to Bill Evans, an accomplished singer and long-time
friend of Haynie.
"It was a pleasure knowing him," Evans said, recalling a visit to see Haynie perform in Cincinnati and being a guest on Haynie's TV show in Asheville.
later years, Haynie returned to playing mountain songs with family and
friends, enjoying the sing-alongs.
Haynie was much in demand as a musician. His wife recalled how, for the Canton Labor Day festivals, he would go to play at about 10 a.m., come home for a couple of hours for lunch, go back to perform and not come home until midnight. If he got blisters on his fingers, he'd just put a Band-Aid on and keep going, Rose said.
"He always helped out wherever they needed him," she said.
One of his most treasured awards, Rose explained, was a plaque he received for playing during the Christmas holiday season for blind people in Haywood County.
Haynie also received honorary military commissions from the governors of Alabama and Kentucky.
When Jimmy Haynie died on Aug. 21, 1987, after a crippling battle with congestive heart failure, more than 600 people signed in for his funeral visitation.