search
top

Earnest East

Earnest East

Earnest East (July 8, 1916 – January 8, 2000)

Photo credit: Rob Amberg

 

Fiddle and banjo player Earnest E. East was born in Surry County on July 8, 1916. Like Tommy Jarrell and Fred Cockerham, Earnest spent a good deal of time at Charlie Lowe’s house and developed much of his musical talent there. Earnest raised tobacco and also worked at Spencer’s Apparel and Clothing in Mount Airy. He was a member of the Camp Creek Boys, and later founded his own band, the Pine Ridge Boys; it in­cluded his son, Scotty East on guitar, Gilmer Woodruff on banjo, Mac Snow on guitar and, later, Scotty’s wife, Patsy, on bass. The Pine Ridge Boys was a hard-driving in­strumental band, and Scotty, Mac and Patsy were gifted singers as well. Earnest played the fiddle in a unique, long-bow chording style that expressed the melody of the tunes he played in a straightforward manner.

In keeping with the Breaking Up Christmas tradi­tion, Earnest and his family had a New Year’s square dance and music party in the community. Since Ear­nest passed away on January 8, 2000, Mac Snow has been integral in keeping this tradition alive.

In 1988, Earnest received the Brown-Hudson Folklore Award given by the North Carolina Folklore Society, and in 1990, he was presented with a North Carolina Folk Heritage Award.

Comments are closed.

top