Bluegrass and country singer and music promoter.
While generally considered a bluegrass singer, Mac Wiseman regularly and unapologetically crossed the boundaries between bluegrass, country, and pop music. In his career, he worked as a disc jockey, record company artist and repertoire director, and concert promoter. Born Malcolm B. Wiseman on May 23, 1925, in Crimora, Virginia, Wiseman was inﬂuenced by traditional, popular, and classical music. He attended the nearby Dayton (Virginia) Conservatory of Music; speciﬁc inﬂuences ranged from turn-of-the-century popular music to the early country music of the Carter Family, Vernon Dalhart, and Bradley Kincaid. In 1946 Wiseman joined Molly O’Day’s band as a bass player before moving to Flatt and Scruggs’s Foggy Mountain Boys as a guitarist and singer in 1948 and Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys in 1949. Leading his own group, the Country Boys, Wiseman achieved a popularity equal to that of Monroe and Flatt and Scruggs during the period of 1951 to 1957, when he recorded numerous bluegrass hits that demonstrated his mastery of both traditional and contemporary material, including “Love Letters in the Sand,” “I Wonder How the Old Folks Are at Home,” and “Little White Church.”
Wiseman has been identiﬁed with three of the most inﬂuential radio programs in the bluegrass and country music genres, serving as a cast member in Bristol, Tennessee/ Virginia, on the WCYB Farm and Fun Time show in 1947, joining Bill Monroe’s band on WSM Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry from 1949 to 1951, and serving as program director (and often featured performer) of WWVA’s Wheeling Jamboree for the latter half of the 1960s. Wiseman’s recording career continued successfully into the 1970s, as he began to use country-pop backing on country hits such as “(If I Had) Johnny’s Cash and Charlie’s Pride.” Thereafter, he continued to tour the bluegrass festival circuit and to record.
Cite this Entry
"Mac Wiseman," Encyclopedia of Appalachia, 2018, Encyclopedia of Appalachia. 21 Apr 2018 <http://www.encyclopediaofappalachia.com/entry.php?rec=212>
"Mac Wiseman." (2018) In Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Retrieved April 21, 2018, from Encyclopedia of Appalachia: http://www.encyclopediaofappalachia.com/entry.php?rec=212