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“R” is for Reno, Donald Wesley (1927-1984)

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“R” is for Reno, Donald Wesley (1927-1984). Musician. A native of Spartanburg, Don Reno probably ranks second only to Earl Scruggs in prestige among bluegrass banjo pickers. He grew up in Haywood County, North Carolina, where he learned to play banjo from local musicians. He spent his early career as an artist on WSPA radio in Spartanburg. After service in as a member of Merrill’s Marauders in World War II, he moved to Nashville. In 1949 he joined the Tennessee Buddies where he met lead-vocalist Red Smiley. Later the two formed a partnership and made the first sixteen of more than two hundred recordings for the King label. Reno then went to work for Arthur Smith at WBT in Charlotte. During that time Smith and Don Wesley Reno composed and recorded their noted instrumental “Feuding Banjos.”

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.