The Old-Time Herald Volume 13, Number 5

Nicholson’s Players
By Tony Russell
Nicholson Players- l - r, Glenn Spurgeon, Paul Henry Ashabraner, Charles Nuckolls; seated, William Jefferson Nicholson. courtesy of Stevens Memorial Museum, Salem, Indiana


In late January 1930, while much of the Midwest shivered in sub-zero temperatures, a group of men travelled some 150 miles to the Starr Piano Company’s studio in Richmond, Indiana. There they proceeded, over two days, to make eight recordings, employing various combinations of instruments—fiddle, harmonica, banjo, guitar, jew’s harp, and jug. Several of these recordings were first issued on Starr’s Gennett label, credited to “Nicholson’s Players.” For decades this group remained in the “to be investigated” folder of country music history, but today the tools of research enable us to crack open many such enigmas, and the story of Nicholson’s Players can now be told.

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