Wall began playing hillbilly and “old-time” music before it was dubbed bluegrass. He was one of eleven children in a family he described as not very musically oriented. As a teen, he cut his teeth during radio-sponsored music competitions. In 1941, he and his band won an amateur contest that launched his professional career. Wall served in the Navy during World War II, and entertained the troops while benefiting from exposure to other musicians. “I gained great inspiration from my father,” recalled Wall. “The initial learning process was provided by my neighborhood friends.”

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