William Smith Monroe (/mənˈroʊ/; September 13, 1911 – September 9, 1996) was an American mandolinist, singer, and songwriter, who created the style of music known as bluegrass. Because of this, he is commonly referred to as the “Father of Bluegrass“. The genre takes its name from his band, the Blue Grass Boys, named for Monroe’s home state of Kentucky. Monroe’s performing career spanned 69 years as a singer, instrumentalist, composer and bandleader.
Monroe was born on his family’s farm near Rosine, Kentucky, the youngest of eight children of James Buchanan “Buck” and Malissa (Vandiver) Monroe. His mother and her brother, Pendleton “Pen” Vandiver, were both musically talented, and Monroe and his family grew up playing and singing at home. Bill was of Scottish heritage. Because his older brothers Birch and Charlie already played the fiddle and guitar, Bill Monroe was resigned to playing the less desirable mandolin. He recalled that his brothers insisted he should remove four of the mandolin’s eight strings so he would not play too loudly.