old-time fiddler, Alcoa
Tennessee Folklife Heritage Award (2005)
Like his famous cousin Roy, Charlie Acuff (1919-2013) came from Union County. But whereas Roy became famous as a country music entertainer, Charlie devoted himself to a deeper mastery of old-time fiddling. His dedication was evident from the beginning, as he had to learn left-handed. He always played widely, for square dances and on the radio, but he balanced his music with a 40 year career at the Alcoa aluminum plant. After retiring in 1982, Charlie performed regularly for old-time music audiences, including those at the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, and shared his large repertory of tunes with countless students. His sharp recollections and warm personality made him one of the best-loved musical figures in East Tennessee.