Bradley Kincaid (1895–1989)

Updated: March 01, 2011

Early country singer.

Born July 13, 1895, in Point Leavell, Kentucky, and educated at Berea Academy in Berea, Kentucky, and the YMCA College in Chicago, Bradley Kincaid grew up listening to regional traditional music. In 1926 he became an overnight star on WLS Chicago’s National Barn Dance radio show. After his first performance of the British ballad “Barbara Allen” and various folk songs, Kincaid received thousands of fan letters. He continued to collect songs in the Appalachians and published thirteen songbooks during his career, selling many thousands of copies via radio and at personal appearances.

In 1929 Kincaid went to WLW in Cincinnati, then to KDKA in Pittsburgh. Over the next ten years, teaming at times with Grandpa Jones and “Harmonica” Joe Troyan, he played in the Northeast over WGY Schenectady, WEAF and the NBC Red Network in New York City, WBZ Boston, WTIC Hartford, and WHAM Rochester. In 1944 Kincaid joined WSM’s Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, where he remained until 1950. After retiring from the Opry he bought radio station WWSO and operated a music store in Springfield, Ohio.

Kincaid recorded some 250 songs (with repetitions), of which about 220 were released on a wide range of national and international record labels (some under pseudonyms, including “Dan Hughey,” “John Carpenter,” and “Harley Stratton”). His best-known recordings are “Barbara Allen,” “The Fatal Derby Day,” “The Legend of the Robin’s Red Breast,” and “The Letter Edged in Black.” Over four days in 1963, he recorded 162 songs, which were eventually released on six albums. Kincaid was a bridge from folk music to commercial country. A wide variety of performers—including Scotty Wiseman, Doc Hopkins, Mac Wiseman, Eddy Arnold, Bill Monroe, and Grandpa and Ramona Jones—have acknowledged his influence.

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MLA Style

"Bradley Kincaid," Encyclopedia of Appalachia, 2017, Encyclopedia of Appalachia. 22 Oct 2017 <http://www.encyclopediaofappalachia.com/entry.php?rec=132>

APA Style

"Bradley Kincaid." (2017) In Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Retrieved October 22, 2017, from Encyclopedia of Appalachia: http://www.encyclopediaofappalachia.com/entry.php?rec=132

Bradley Kincaid