20150123

Julia Mainer, Wife of Bluegrass Icon Wade Mainer, Passes!

Image635575831270054642Bluegrass lost another one of its most treasured pioneers this week.

Singer and guitarist Julia Mainer died on Wednesday, Jan. 21 at age 95.

Julia Mainer was a singer and guitarist who performed on WSJS Radio in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, before marrying banjoist  Wade Mainer in 1937. She served as her husband's guitarist in concert and on records for about 40 years, and sang harmony with him.

Wade Mainer had a unique two-finger banjo-picking style that is known as the precursor of the bluegrass genre. His career included recording more than 300 songs, playing for Franklin D. Roosevelt in the White House, and being invited to New York in 1943 to boost morale as a performer in the wartime broadcast "The Old Chisholm Trail," according to a report in the Flint Journal.

Julia Mainer played alongside her husband -- Wade on the banjo, and Julia on the guitar — and harmonized with him. Their most popular songs together were "I Can't Sit Down," "Joshua," and "Maple On The Hill." They received a Michigan Heritage Award in 1996.

The Mainers relocated to Flint, Michigan with a traveling preacher in the 1950s, and Wade began to work at General Motors.

They began performing and recording again in 1961, and Wade retired in 1973. After Wade Mainer's retirement, they performed at bluegrass festivals until Wade's death.

Wade Mainer died at age 104 in September 2011.

Mrs. Mainer's funeral will be held Saturday at Fort Funeral Home in Flint, Michigan.

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