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Biography

  • Born

    19 June 1914

  • Born In

    Overton County, Tennessee, United States

  • Died

    11 May 1979 (aged 64)

Lester Raymond Flatt (June 19, 1914 - May 11, 1979) was one of the pioneers of bluegrass music.

Flatt was born in Jackson County, Tennessee to Nannie Mae Haney and Isaac Columbus Flatt. A singer and guitarist, he first came to prominence as a member of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys in the 1940s. In 1948 he started a band with fellow Monroe alumnus Earl Scruggs, and for the next twenty years Flatt and Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys were one of the most successful bands in bluegrass. When they parted ways in 1969, Flatt formed a new group, the Nashville Grass, hiring most of the Foggy Mountain Boys. His role as lead singer and rhythm guitar player in each of these seminal ensembles helped define the sound of traditional bluegrass music. He created a role in the Bluegrass Boys later filled by the likes of Jimmy Martin, Mac Wiseman, Peter Rowan and Del McCoury. His rich lead voice is unmistakable in hundreds of bluegrass standards. He is also always remembered for his library of compositions. The Flatt songbook looms titanic for any student of American acoustic music. He continued to record and perform with that group until his death in 1979. Flatt was posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1985 with Scruggs. He was posthumously made an inaugural inductee into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor in 1991.

Flatt and Scruggs were ranked #24 on CMT's 40 Greatest Men in Country Music in 2003.

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