Early country singing duo.
Perhaps the best of the many brother duos that performed in country music during the 1930s and 1940s, the Blue Sky Boys featured Hickory, North Carolina, natives William A. “Bill” (b. October 28, 1917) and Earl A. Bolick (November 16, 1919–April 19, 1998). Beginning their career in 1935 on WWNC in Asheville with ﬁddler Homer Sherrill as “John, Frank, and George” of the JFG Coffee Company–sponsored Good Coffee Boys, the Bolicks soon parted from Sherrill and renamed themselves the Blue Sky Boys.
After a move to Atlanta’s WGST in 1936, Bill and Earl appeared on numerous stations throughout the southeastern United States, including WPTF in Raleigh, North Carolina, and WFBC in Greenville, South Carolina. The brothers’ precise close harmony singing and Bill’s understated but lyrical mandolin playing—heard on radio, in personal appearances, and on records—won them a wide and dedicated following. Between 1936 and 1951, the Blue Sky Boys recorded more than 125 sides for RCA Victor. Several comeback appearances before college and festival audiences in the 1960s and 1970s and recording sessions for Starday (1963) and Capitol (1965) brought the Blue Sky Boys back to public attention.
Although they were lauded primarily as singers of broad-sides and ballads of American origin (“Knoxville Girl,” “Banks of the Ohio”), the Blue Sky Boys also recorded many nineteenth-century parlor songs (“Sweet Evalina”), twentieth-century popular songs (“Kentucky”), gospel songs (“Turn Your Radio On”), and contemporary country songs (“Sold Down the River”). The Blue Sky Boys’ repertoire and style inﬂuenced many later brother duos, including the Louvin Brothers. Many of the Bolicks’ recorded and radio performances have been reissued on compact disc.
Bill Bokick died March 13, 2008.
Cite this Entry
"Blue Sky Boys," Encyclopedia of Appalachia, 2017, Encyclopedia of Appalachia. 25 May 2017 <http://www.encyclopediaofappalachia.com/entry.php?rec=37>
"Blue Sky Boys." (2017) In Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Retrieved May 25, 2017, from Encyclopedia of Appalachia: http://www.encyclopediaofappalachia.com/entry.php?rec=37
Blue Sky Boys