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Sam & Kirk McGee

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Sam & Kirk McGee
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The McGee Brothers were an American old-time performing duo consisting of brothers Sam Mcgee (b. Samuel Fleming McGee, May 1, 1894, d. August 21, 1975) and Kirk Mcgee (b. David Kirkland McGee, November 4, 1899, d. October 24, 1983). Sam typically played guitar and Kirk usually played banjo or fiddle, although they were both proficient in multiple string instruments. The McGee Brothers were one of the most enduring acts on the Grand Ole Opry during the show’s first fifty years. They made their initial appearance on the Opry in 1926 and the following year joined Uncle Dave Macon’s band, the Fruit Jar Drinkers. In the 1930s, the McGees teamed up with early Opry fiddler Arthur Smith to form a string band known as the “Dixieliners,” and in the 1940s they played and toured with Bill Monroe and His Bluegrass Boys and several other notable acts. The McGee Brothers saw a brief resurgence during the folk revival of the 1950s and 1960s, when folk artist Mike Seeger managed to reunite them with Arthur Smith. The brothers made their last major appearance as a duo on the Opry in 1974, although Kirk continued to appear regularly on the program until his death in 1983.

Sam and Kirk McGee were born and raised in Franklin, Tennessee, a town located just south of Nashville. Their father was a noted fiddler, and both Sam and Kirk learned to play banjo at a young age. As a teenager, Sam picked up slide-guitar and other blues techniques from African-American railroad workers and street musicians in his native Williamson County, and he and Kirk subsequently adapted blues and ragtime styles to the string band format.

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