From 1939 until 1990 the musical career of Pappy Sherrill was closely entwined with that of Snuffy Jenkins. They recorded later albums for Folk-Lyric, Rounder, and Old Homestead.
Musician. “Pappy” Sherrill, a traditional fiddler, is known primarily to South Carolinians for his long musical association with the banjoist DeWitt “Snuffy” Jenkins that dated back to 1939. Although the two made few recordings together during their prime, later albums preserve much of their music. According to the Nashville deejay and music historian Eddie Stubbs, Pappy Sherrill “was a wonderful old-time fiddle player . . . his playing had so much life in it.”
Sherrill was born near Hickory, North Carolina, on March 23, 1915. He started playing fiddle at age seven and made his radio debut at thirteen in Gastonia. Through the mid-to-late 1930s Sherrill played with several groups that worked for the Crazy Water Crystals Company, including the East Hickory String Band, the Crazy Hickory Nuts, Mack and Shorty, Mainer’s Mountaineers, the Morris Brothers–with whom he recorded as Wiley, Zeke, and Homer–and the Blue Sky Boys, with whom he made some radio transcriptions. They worked at WWNC Asheville, WGST Atlanta, WPTF Raleigh, and WBT Charlotte. In October 1939 Sherrill came to Columbia, South Carolina, and joined Byron Parker’s Hillbillies (or Mountaineers), recording with them on Bluebird in 1940 and DeLuxe in 1946. Homer acquired the nickname “Pappy” in July 1940, when his wife presented him with a son.
From 1939 until 1990 the musical career of Pappy Sherrill was closely entwined with that of Snuffy Jenkins. They recorded later albums for Folk-Lyric, Rounder, and Old Homestead. In addition, Sherrill made a reunion album with the Morris Brothers on Rounder. On one of the Rounder albums he got to record his signature tune “Cherry Blossom Waltz.” After Jenkins died in 1990, Sherrill made some appearances with the WBT Briarhoppers and received such honors as the South Carolina Folk Heritage Award and the North Carolina “Order of the Long Leaf Pine.” Sherrill remained active almost to the time of his death in Columbia on November 30, 2001.
Ahrens, Pat J. A History of the Musical Careers of DeWitt “Snuffy” Jenkins, Banjoist, and Homer “Pappy” Sherrill, Fiddler. Columbia, S.C., 1970.
Hinshaw, Dawn. “Bluegrass Legend Pappy Sherrill, 86.” Columbia State, December 1, 2001, pp. A1, A4.