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Pressing On
The Roni Stoneman Story
By Ellen Wright and Roni Stoneman
University of Illinois Press
2007
232 Pages
ISBN:  0-25203-191-1

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The tragicomic life story of one of America’s best-known country entertainers, told with warmth and honesty.

This book recounts the fascinating life of Roni Stoneman, the youngest daughter of the pioneering country music family and a woman who, in spite of poverty and abusive husbands, eventually became "The First Lady of Banjo," a fixture on the Nashville scene, and, as Hee Haw's Ironing Board Lady, a comedienne beloved by millions of Americans nationwide.

Drawn from more than seventy-five hours of recorded interviews, Pressing On reveals that Roni is also a master storyteller. In her own words and with characteristic spunk and candor, she describes her "pooristic" ("way beyond 'poverty-stricken'") Appalachian childhood, and how she learned from her brother Scott to play the challenging and innovative three-finger banjo picking style developed by Earl Scruggs. She also warmly recounts Hee Haw-era adventures with Minnie Pearl, Roy Clark, and Buck Owens; her encounters as a musician with country greats including Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, June Carter, and Patsy Cline; as well as her personal struggles with shiftless and violent husbands, her relationships with her children, and her musical life after Hee Haw.

About the Author
Ellen Wright conducted the interviews with Roni and arranged and edited the transcriptions. In 2005, she was named the Charles Deering McCormick University Distinguished Lecturer at Northwestern University, where she teaches in the Writing Program.