Country Artists We’ve Lost in 2011: Wade Mainer
Bluegrass pioneer Wade Mainer paved the way for a new era of artists like Ricky Skaggs and the Monroe Brothers. He started playing bluegrass in western North Carolina and formed popular '30s duo Mainer’s Mountaineers with his older brother, J.E. Mainer. The younger Mainer invented a two-finger banjo picking style that proved to be the cornerstone for a bluegrass era. Eventually Mainer moved to Flint, Mich. at the boom of the auto industry, and he was virtually forgotten until Tex Ritter ran into him one day -- and he picked up the banjo once again. He died in September 2011 at the age of 104.