‘Some people say he started it, some people say we started it’

“In my opinion, the way I see it, and I heard it all back then, there was bluegrass before Bill Monroe ever got into bluegrass. There are several tunes we recorded where the banjo sounds like bluegrass. The Morris Brothers also were playin’ like that.

“Bill Monroe wasn’t doin’ any good, let me tell you, until he added a banjo into his group. Then his name was ‘Blue Grass Boys,’ and the name stuck for his music. I give credit to Bill. He probably was the man who made the music faster. But some people say he started it, and some people say we started it.”

— Wade Mainer in a 2000 interview with Tom and Lucy Warlick, authors of “The WBT Briarhoppers: Eight Decades of a Bluegrass Band Made for Radio” (2008)

Mainer, a Weaverville native who recorded prolifically during Charlotte’s heyday as a hub of country music, died Monday at age 104.