Skip to main content

Macon, Uncle Dave (1870-1952)

Macon, Uncle Dave (1870-1952)

Uncle Dave Macon, singer, songwriter, and banjo player, was one of the earliest pioneers of country music. Born in 1870 in Smart Station, Tennessee, David Harrison Macon grew up in Nashville in the boarding house run by his parents that was frequented by traveling vaudeville musicians. From them, Macon learned how to play the five-string banjo and numerous old folk songs. However, he grew up to earn his living in the hauling business and performed solely as an amateur at local events until he was discovered at the age of 48 by a talent scout for Loew's theaters. His success brought an invitation to join the new Grand Ole Opry radio show in Nashville in 1926, and he quickly became one of its most popular stars, both as a solo performer and with his band, the Fruit Jar Drinkers. "Uncle" Dave was a key link between traditional Southern music and modern country music, introducing nineteenth-century folk styles to modern audiences with songs such as "Way Down the Old Plank Road" and "Roll Down the Line." He played until his death in 1952, and he is honored by the annual Uncle Dave Macon Days three-day festival in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, which features the National Old-Time Banjo championships.

—Timothy Berg

Further Reading:

Malone, Bill C. Country Music U.S.A: A Fifty Year History. Austin, American Folklore Society, University of Texas Press, 1968.

Stambler, Irwin, and Grelun Landon. Country Music: The Encyclopedia. New York, St. Martin's Press, 1997.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Macon, Uncle Dave (1870-1952)." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. . 20 Jan. 2019 <>.

"Macon, Uncle Dave (1870-1952)." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. . (January 20, 2019).

"Macon, Uncle Dave (1870-1952)." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. . Retrieved January 20, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.