About The Artist
Evelyn Hallgren was born February 15, 1919, in Malden, Massachusetts. Her parents emigrated from Sweden, became US citizens, and had four children. As a child Evelyn's nickname was Bunny as one of her winter hats had a bob on top that resembled a bunny's tail.
Her love for music began at a young age listening to her mother and father singing Swedish songs though Evelyn had other ideas. Her mother was responsible for teaching Evelyn how to play the guitar. After school Evelyn ran home to listen to country music on the radio and play along. Curley Joe was one of her favorites. Her dream was to someday be one of those radio singers. At nineteen Evelyn entered a contest sponsored by Community Opticians. While she took second place that didn't stop an offer from Curley Lawrence to come join the Prairie Pals. They wanted a girl singer.
It wasn't long before another offer arrived. Evelyn was asked to audition to be George Mahoney's new partner as his current one was leaving. Evelyn sat in the waiting room with her guitar and later related to her family that the infamous Roy Rogers sat directly across from her. Somewhat shy, she did not ask for an autograph.
The audition went well and a few days later the phone rang, the caller asked for Dixie. Evelyn was perplexed saying, You have the wrong number." Before she could hang up the caller explained, "Dixie is your new stage name." She had landed the position of her dreams.
George Mahoney was her mentor, gently introducing her to the world of country music, radio and stage presence, and between the two became known as the Yodeling Twins throughout the New England area.
Richard H. Keeler wrote a column "News From Old New England" in the old Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder magazine on a regular basis. In his writing, he would tell of the comings and goings or events of folks performing in New England. George and Dixie were often mentioned in his column. In 1944, he reported that the duo had wrapped up a successful summer at Pinecrest Ranch near Nasonville, Rhode Island. In June of 1945, he told readers they were still "wowing" the listening audience over WNAC in Boston. George was working for Raytheon in Waltham, MA and doing nightly personal apperances.
In March of 1946, he reported that Geoge and Dixie had a new timeslot over WNAC - 3:45pm. He commented, "The popularity of this talented duo never seems to wane with their New England listeners." In June of that year, he reported that the duo was then being heard at 7:30am.
Some columns would try to promote songs written by perhaps songwriters with 'ties' to the magazine. In September 1945, George and Dixie were on the Yankee Network and were featuring a song called, "Somehow Love Will Find A Way," written by Lew Mel and Floyd Wilkins that was published by Country Music, Inc. in Chicago, IL. In June 1946, George and Dixie were said to have been featuring a song called "Sombreros In The Sun," written by Lew Mel and George Calder; published by the Kelly Music Company.
Around early 1947, Mr. Keeler reported that George and Dixie were off the air temporarily.
They were highlights at Indian Ranch. Evelyn remained with George from 1939 to 1949. In 1942 she met and married a member of Curley Lawrence's band, Emo Carter, who was locally known as the best banjo player on the East Coast.
They had a daughter in 1947 and in 1949 and Emo decided Evelyn should stay home and be a mother. That, however, didn't stop her and her husband from entertaining part time for a few more years before retiring from the music world.
Evelyn passed away on November 11, 2015, having held only one full time job in her life; that job was the dream of a lifetime.
Credits & Sources
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