Hillbilly-Music.com—The People. The Music. The History.
Rex Rinehart
Born:  January 16, 1924
Died:  November 11, 1969
KBIZ Ottumwa, IA
KFXD Nampa, ID
WHO Des Moines, IA
KMA Shenandoah, IA (1938)

About The Artist

Rex Rinehart - Publicity Photo Rex Rinehart was born on Jan 16, 1924 in Monroe County, Iowa.

As a young boy, he loved to sing and play the guitar. He worked on his dad's farm until the onset World War II. He moved to Portland, Oregon and began working in the shipyards to support the nation's war efforts.

When he was 14 years old, Rex could be heard singing over radio station KMA in Shenandoah, Iowa. He was a regular at the station until he was 16.

It was in Portland that he met Jean Ashlock. They were married on June 29, 1945.

Rex and Jean sang on the radio as a when they were first married on several stations: KBIZ - Ottuma, Iowa; WHO - Des Moines Iowa and KFXD in Nampa, Idaho. He came to Nashville with Jean and his six kids in 1957. He began to book shows during half of the year and then would tour with the group the other half.

He died at the young age of 46 while on the road on November 11, 1969.

Rex Rinehart and Jean- Publicity Photo He would usually book Red Sovine, Norma Jean, Jean Shepard, Little Jimmie Dickens, Billy Walker, George Jones and Stonewall Jackson. He also toured with Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkens, Faron Young, Ray Price, Johnny Cash and Marty Robbins.

He sang on the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Auditorium with Jimmy Newman and Jimmy Dean.

In 1959, Billboard included a short review of one of Rex's recordings on the Yucca label. It said "Poor Wandering Boy" was "...traditional styled country" and that Rex did a solid vocal with "...typical instrumentation behind him." Billboard said the other side, "What A Shame" "...a weeper. Lyric and melody are in true C&W tradition. Rinehart handles the material very well."

Through the efforts of the Jim Denny Artist Bureau in Nashville, Rex joined a tour that included Stonewall Jackson, Little Jimmy Dickens, Just Tubb, Red Sovine, Dottie West and the Syrup-Soppers. They would appear in Chillicothe, Missouri, Des Moines, Iowa, Shenandoah, Iowa; Watertown, SOuth Dakota; Mobridge, South Dakota; Sheridan, Wyoming, Afton, Wyoming; Rapid City, South Dakota; Idaho Falls, Idaho; Lander Wyoming; Lexington, Nebraska and Valentine, Nebraska. The tour dates were from January 23, 1961 and February 8, 1961.

One magazine article mentioned that Rex traveled over 210,000 miles in 1962 and 1963 for his personal appearances in the United States and Canada. That same article mentions his "...excellent stage presence" and "...good showmanship."

In the spring of 1964, Billboard was reporting that Rex was part of a 13-day tour of Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon and California, booked through the Denny-Moeller Talent Agency in Nashville. The acts that were a part of that tour included Stonewall Jackson, Little Jimmy Dickens, Jimmy Newman, Red Sovine and his Tennessee Valley Boys and Jan Moore.

In early fall 1964, Billboard reported that Rex had completed a tour that began in Evansville, Indiana and ended in Salt Lake City, Utah with Porter Wagoner, Left Frizzell, Stonewall Jackson, Little Jimmy Dickens and Red Sovine.

During 1965, Rex was part of a tour of Grand Ole Opry stars and others on the west coast, including Las Vegas, Nevada and San Diego, California. That group included Stonewall Jackson, Little Jimmy Dickens, Billy Walker, Red Sovine, Betty Luther, Shirley Ray, Bob Richardson, Wanda Bowman, Morris Brothers and Gil Fabor as well as the group, Tennessee Valley Boys. The show in Las Vegas was at the Las Vegas Convention Center and promoted by radio station KVEG and Howdy Smith.

Rex is remembered for his love of music, great sense of humor and his friendly nature. He was a friend to all.

He died at the young age of 46 while on the road on November 11, 1969.

Credits & Sources

  • Hillbilly-Music.com wishes to thank Pam, the daughter of Rex Rinehart, for providing us with information and photos of her father's musical career.
  • The Big C Write Up; Vol 1 No 4; Winter-Spring 1965
  • Billboard; September 7, 1959; Billboard; Cincinnati, OH
  • Billboard; September 25, 1961; Billboard; Cincinnati, OH
  • Billboard; March 28, 1960; Billboard; Cincinnati, OH
  • Billboard; July 13, 1963; Billboard; Cincinnati, OH
  • Billboard; April 11, 1964; Billboard; Cincinnati, OH
  • Billboard; November 7, 1964; Billboard; Cincinnati, OH
  • Moravia-Union; November 20, 1969; Moravia, IA

Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

Rec. No. Side Song Title
  1002 A More Than Me
  1002 B Going Back (To My Baby)
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  0002 A You Never Called Me Joe Before
  0002 B In Case of Accident
  Unknown A The Portrait
  Unknown B Overcrowded Tavern
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  45-107 A Our Love Will Grow
  45-107 B You Walked Through My Heart (Like A Bull In A China Shop)
  45-117 A What A Shame
  45-117 B Poor Wandering Boy
  45-122 A Little Joe
  45-122 B Let It Happen