Melvin Goins & Windy Mountain

For 65 years, Melvin Goins played mountain and bluegrass music, as a member of the legendary Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, and for approximately 30 years, with his brother Ray in the Goins Brothers band. He now performs approximately 150 dates per year at bluegrass festivals, concert halls and clubs with Melvin Goins and Windy Mountain.

Hay Holler Records has released three albums by the Goins Brothers and one, "Bluegrass Blues," by Melvin Goins and Windy Mountain. The record company also released a 57-minute video, "50 Years of Mountain Music and Bluegrass," which included live footage of one of the band's festival performances and an extended interview with Goins.

A member of the Board of Directors of MSU's Kentucky Center for Traditional Music, Melvin Goins performed at the first Appalachian Celebration. He received the Appalachian Treasure Award during the 2001 Appalachian Celebration.

Melvin was born on Sinai Mountain near the coal mining community of Goodwill, WV and attended both Bramwell Grade School and High School in the 1940 - 1950 era. Even as a child he was known for his musical talents and is remembered for his many concerts performed over the past fifty years in the southern WV coal fields. The below out-of-the-attic photograph was cropped from the Bramwell Grade School 1941 -1942 sixth grade class photograph. Melvin passed away on July 29, 2016 while touring in Canada.

 

Goins, Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, going into Bluegrass Hall of Fame
By Bill Archer
Bluefield Daily Telegraph - 16 Aug. 2009

BRAMWELL — Melvin Goins has strummed his way into the hearts and souls of bluegrass music lovers for almost three-score years, and on Thursday, Oct. 1, at the historic Ryman Auditorium in the heart of Nashville, Tenn., Goins will join Bobby Osborne and Paul Williams — the last surviving members of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers — to be inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Fame.

“It came as a shock to me,” Goins said during a telephone interview last Thursday — the day the announcement became official. “Eddie Stubbs called me and said he had some good news for me. This is one of the highest honors of my career.”

Goins, 75, is as smooth of a guitar picker as you’ll ever see, and he’s smoother still as a musical ensemble front man, with an instantly ready steady stream of much-rehearsed twangy one-liners about growing up poor, dirt poor in the town of Freeman near Bramwell, and living the uncertain life of an itinerant musician, but loving his family, his God, his home and the musicians he works with on any given night.

Goins has what seems like thousands of homespun sayings that can fit any moment of any conversation. As he was describing the challenges of making a living playing bluegrass music, he recited a few snappy retorts about the musical highway hardships that offered a lot of woe, but not a lot of biscuits.”

Well, the biscuits have been rolling in for Goins in recent years, and although he’s obviously humbled by the new-found notoriety, he’s also mighty proud that years of sweating through nights of wondering if the rest of the band would show up, and days of wondering if enough people will turn out for that night’s gig to earn enough money for gas to get to the next. On May 2, U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., proclaimed it “Melvin Goins Day in Bramwell,” and read the statement honoring Goins that Rahall read into the Congressional Record on the floor of Congress. Goins was also featured on the cover of “Bluegrass Unlimited” magazine in June. A few years ago, San Francisco, Calif., guitar-maker, Blue Ridge Guitars, developed a commercially available guitar named for Goins.

Melvin Goins wasn’t the first of the Goins brothers to join Cousin Ezra Cline and the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers. Melvin’s brother, the late, great Ray Goins, joined the fiddlers as a banjo picker in 1951, along with Paul Williams who came on board as a lead guitar player. The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers were already a well-established bluegrass group regionally in the early 1950s. The group originated in 1938, with “Cousin” Ezra Cline on bass, his brothers “Lazy Ned” Cline on banjo and “Curley Ray” Cline on fiddle. The Clines joined another established performer, Gordon Jennings (guitar and vocals) to form the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers and the band landed the regular early morning time slot on Bluefield’s WHIS-AM radio.

The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers anchored the early morning time slot at WHIS radio for several years until after Pearl Harbor when Jennings left Bluefield for St. Louis. With the front man gone, Ezra Cline assumed the leadership of the group, but the fiddlers would soon suffer a tragic loss. Ned Cline, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II, died in the June 1944 Normandy invasion. The band played on with a younger Cline, Charlie Cline replacing Ned on banjo. Late in 1949, Ezra Cline hired Bobby Osborne and Larry Richardson and brought in Ray Morgan to play fiddle. Ray Goins only stayed with the fiddlers a short time, but he returned in 1953 when Ezra Cline — Melvin still pronounces his name “Ezrie” — hired Melvin Goins and the group changed its base of operations from Bluefield to Pikeville, Ky., and WLSI radio.

“In November, it will be 59 years ago that I went to work for Ezra,” Goins, the oldest of nine sons born to Glen and Pearl Goins, said. He started out working for $12 a week on WHIS radio. Ray would eventually move on to a long-standing position with the Clinch Mountain Boys, but Ray and Melvin re-joined forces as the Goins Brothers in 1969.

“Melvin’s going to be inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame at the Ryman Auditorium ... the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville,” his brother Conley Goins said three days after learning of his brother’s latest honor. “Not only that, but he’s also going to be the warm-up band for Tom T. Hall the day before that.”
But in characteristic humility, Melvin Goins was just as excited about getting together for the Goins Family Reunion on Aug. 29, in Mercer County. “There will be some good music that day, and maybe some biscuits,” Melvin Goins said.

Contact: Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

MELVIN GOINS MEMORIAM

MORE INFORMATION ON MELVIN GOIN'S CAREER

RETURN TO BHS CLASS '53 INDEX

NEWS
WHAT'S NEW

MASTER INDEX BHS CLASS INDEX PIONEERS

TOWN INDEX

HISTORIC BRAMWELL LINKS

BRAMWELL HISTORY

BRAMWELL YEARY EVENTS

THANKS