Condolences Coming In For Whitey Grant

John Rumble, Historian, Country Music Hall of Fame:
Back in 1982, soon after I joined the staff of the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum to run the museum’s Oral History Project, Roy “Whitey” Grant and Arval Hogan were two of the earliest individuals I interviewed. Both Whitey and Hogan were friendly and gracious, and highly cooperative. As a result, they helped me get off to a good start in my new position. Soon afterward, I visited Whitey and Hogan at Whitey’s home in Charlotte for follow-up interview. (As Whitey put it, their houses were “side by each”—that is, they lived next door to each other.) Again, both men were hospitable, and we all had lunch together there at Whitey’s. I’ll never forget the blessing that Whitey offered before the meal. He thanked the Lord for the opportunity to spend time together, and asked Him to keep me safe on my journey back to Nashville. This meant a great deal to me, and always will.   During my twenty-eight years with the museum, I’ve been fortunate to meet many wonderful folks who have been involved in the country music industry; Whitey and Hogan were certainly among the finest of these. My Dad told me decades ago that many people would come into my life, and many would have a positive influence, even though our paths would cross only briefly. How right he was.

Billie Burton Daniel, WBT Briarhopper, 1936 - 1940:
I see 'big' Bill Davis, Curly (Don White) Claude Casey, Elmer Warren, all ready to join in and welcome him home. Mr. Crutchfield is right there, too. You know, it really makes me nostalgic, I miss them all.  I only met Whitey one time and that was at the induction of The Briarhoppers into WBT's Hall of Fame. He told me then that he had known me all his life, but had never met me before. I suppose he remembered me as a child. It saddens me that so many of the really great 'old timers' are no longer with us. Times have changed so much in my lifetime, and sadly not for the better, for that era, the 30' and 40', were a wonderful time for radio, and I have so many wonderful memories, and there are just not many left with whom I can share those memories. This is why I enjoyed it so much when you were writing your book.

Dot Jackson, author and one of the best writers The Charlotte Observer ever had:
What this means to some of us, besides the loss, is that we are old, now. I can't believe HOW old -- but my wrinkled, stove-up carcass reminds me all the time. Well, my dear, the old souls among us belonged to that better time. Over and over, I am SO thankful that we had what we had, and the friends that we had. We knew at the time that we were blessed to live in such an age, among such people.  God love the memory of Whitey, and all his cohorts who are still among the living.

NC Representative Cullie Tarleton:
Sorry to hear. He was an original. May he rest in peace.

Rick Jackson, former WBT Radio GM:
Sorry to hear about this - but proud to have know him - and you. Everyone who loves the Briarhoppers owe you much for keeping the group together and for also keeping the name and spirit of Whitey and all who have performed under the Briahopper banner alive.

Lee Shephard (Ed Myers), US broadcast news legend:
I was a Briarhopper fan from the time I was 5 years old and although I was in my 60’s when I finally got to meet Whitey, the years had not diminished the thrill. In fact, discovering how kind and down to earth he was only increased my admiration of him.  Rest in Peace, Whitey!

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The Legendary Briarhoppers!

In 1934, a potential advertiser called WBT's Charles Crutchfield to ask if the station had a hillbilly band to help advertise its products. Telling a fib, Crutch said "Yes," which led to the birth of the Briarhoppers. The name comes from WBT announcer Bill Bivens who, during a hunting trip with Crutch, was startled by a rabbit jumping out of a thicket, and Bill yelled, "Look at that briarhopper!" At that moment, Crutch found the name for his hillbilly band.

The original band members were Johnny McAllister, Big Bill Davis, Don White, Thorpe Westerfield, Clarence Etters, and Jane Bartlett. The last original 1934 Briarhopper, Don White, died in 2003. Billie Burton Daniel, who joined the group in 1936, is happy and well in Wilmington, NC. Since that time, The Briarhoppers' fans are/were Bill Monroe, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs (who filled in on banjo a few times), Curly Seckler, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, and many other entertainment stars.

In keeping with the tradition, the band kept going through the years by adding new musicians to those who left the station or who died. Today, Alana Flowers and Tom Warlick head the band with their stage show including the old Briarhopper songs, new songs, and the original scripted commercials of Peruna, Kolor-Bak, Zymole Trokeys, and Radio Girl Perfume! Enjoy this site and learn about the Briarhoppers' storied past and the bright future that is ahead. Don't turn that dial...Hit's Briarhopper Time!