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Bluegrass Pioneer Melvin Goins Dies at age 83

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Melvin GoinsBluegrass music lost another of the founders and pioneers of the music. Melvin Goins, 83, has passed on. Melvin played bluegrass and mountain string music for more six decades. The music he performed became known as bluegrass thanks to Bill Monroe at about the time Melvin and his brother, Ray, started playing professionally. The Goins Brothers performed together until Ray retired from touring in 1994. Melvin continued performing and was on the road when he died.

Goins was once a member of Ralph Stanley's Clinch Mountain Boys. Melvin has shared the stage with people like Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, the Osborne Brothers, Paul Williams, Jim & Jessee McReynolds, and many others. He was currently living in the state of Kentucky. His music retained elements of the Lonesome Pine Fiddler sound as well as that of other pioneer figures.

In October, 2009, Melvin, Bobby Osborne, and Paul Williams were inducted into the IBMA Hall of Fame for their work with the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers. Melvin played bass for Ralph and Carter Stanley and did a comedy act on the Grand Ole Opry with Mike Snider. In 2011, Melvin was honored along with his late brother as part of the 2011 Kentucky Music Hall of Fame.

In 2001, Goins was awarded the Appalachian Treasure Award by Morehead State University in recognition of his dedication in promoting and preserving Appalachia’s cultural heritage. A member of the Board of Directors of Morehead State University’s Kentucky Center for Traditional Music, he worked tirelessly to promote the music he grew up with and loves. Hay Holler released three Goins Brothers CDs and one CD by Melvin & Windy Mountain. Melvin’s release, A Light in the Window Again (on Rooster Records) was recorded at Tom T. Hall’s studio in Franklin, Tennessee. His most recent release, Dancin’ in the Dirt, features a title track by Tom T. and his wife Dixie.

Goins used to say, “I’m going to keep performing until the Good Lord calls me home." If you like your bluegrass traditional, you would have loved Melvin Goins. Melvin was a Kentucky gentleman, and there wasn’t a nicer or more experienced person in bluegrass music today.

We recently lost another legend, Dr. Ralph Stanley. It was just earlier this year that Melvin and Ralph came back together to remember Joe Lively who co-hosted the radio shoe "J&J Bluegrass Classics" on WHIS AM. The loss of Melvin, Ralph and Joe in a short window of time illustrates how fragile and limited the originators of bluegrass music are. Rest in peace Melvin Goins.

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