Mac Wiseman, legendary bluegrass crooner from the Valley, dead at 93

In this April 22, 2014 file photo, Mac Wiseman speaks after he was introduced as one of three new inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tenn. Spring Hill Funeral Home in Nashville, Tenn., says the bluegrass and country vocalist has died at the age of 93. The funeral home said Wiseman died Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019. (AP)
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NASHVILLE (WHSV) — A funeral home says bluegrass and country vocalist Mac Wiseman, known for his high tenor and songs like "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" and "Jimmy Brown the Newsboy," has died at the age of 93.

Spring Hill Funeral Home in Nashville, Tennessee confirmed his death on Sunday. Services have not yet been announced.

Wiseman was born in Crimora, in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, on May 23, 1925. He contracted polio at a young age, which led him to spend a lot of time listening to old records as a child.

As a teenager, Rolling Stone reports he purchased a guitar from a Sears-Roebuck catalog and began playing his favorite songs while singing lyrics his mother transcribed from radio broadcasts.

He went to school in New Hope (the building still stands, though its use as a school ended decades ago) and studied at the Shenandoah Conservatory when it was in Dayton.

But his career began as a DJ at WSVA-AM in Harrisonburg.

He moved on from his DJ days to record music with the Cumberland Mountain Folks as an upright bass player. From there, he went on to work as a sideman for bluegrass pioneers like Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs and Bill Monroe. He was the guitarist for the Foggy Mountain Boys and later played with the Bluegrass Boys.

He recorded for Dot Records in the 1950s, eventually working as a label producer.

His biggest hit was "Jimmy Brown the Newsboy," which hit number 5 in 1959.

Wiseman influenced legends like Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash, both of whom he recorded with later in their lives.

In 1958, he served as a founding member and the first secretary for the Country Music Association. Until this week, he was the last surviving founding member.

Decades later, he also co-founded the International Bluegrass Music Association.

He was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor in 1993 and into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2014. His last album came out two years ago when he was 91, "I Sang The Song (Life Of The Voice With A Heart)."