The Lilly Brothers and Don Stover

Listen to “Long Journey”

The Lilly Brothers
and Don Stover

Everett Lilly, 1924-2012, Clear Creek, Raleigh County
Michael Burt “B” Lilly, 1921-2005, Clear Creek, Raleigh County
Don Stover, 1928-1996, Clear Creek, Raleigh County

Steeped in the brother-duet tradition of the early 1930s, “B” and Everett Lilly began performing professionally in 1938, over Beckley radio station WJLS. With B on guitar and singing lead, Everett played mandolin and usually sang the high tenor part. Everett later took up the fiddle. The pair was soon joined by neighbor and banjo player Don Stover, and their band became popular locally and throughout the South. Highlighting distinctive and energetic versions of songs initially made popular by the Carter Family and the Monroe Brothers, the trio later played over WCHS radio in Charleston and WWVA in Wheeling. In the early 1950s, Everett spent two years playing mandolin and singing tenor with Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs. Then, in 1952, the Lilly Brothers and Don Stover, together with fiddler Tex Logan, accepted an offer in Boston, MA, where they stayed for the next 18 years. Known as the Confederate Mountaineers, they performed as many as seven nights a week in local bars and honky tonks, including the infamous Hillbilly Ranch, as well as the Hayloft Jamboree and the Boston Jamboree. In 1970, the Lilly Brothers and Don Stover introduced bluegrass music to Japan. They were an immediate sensation and spent several years touring and promoting bluegrass music throughout Japan, where bluegrass and old-time music remain popular today. The Lilly Brothers were inducted into the Massachusetts Country Music Hall of Fame in 1986 and Don Stover was inducted the following year. In 2002, the Lilly Brothers and Don Stover were inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. Don Stover passed away in 1996, at age 68. B Lilly passed away in 2005, at age 83. Everett Lilly passed away in 2012, after playing and performing in his later years with his sons in a band called Everett Lilly and the Lilly Mountaineers.