Frank Wakefield is a mandolin player from Emory Gap, Tennessee who has played with many great musicians including Jimmy Martin, Red Allen, and Ricky Skaggs. He has also influenced the sound of those such as David Grisman and Ronnie McCoury. Frank has, several times, played in Carnegie Hall and in 1999 was even nominated for a Grammy.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Wakefield was born in 1934 to a family of musicians and by age 6 was already playing the harmonica. During his teenage years he played the mandolin to his brother Ralph’s guitar. The brother duo specialized in gospel and old time music and sometimes appeared on their local radio station in Dayton, Ohio. Later in 1952, Frank toured around the midwest and at Bean Blossom with Red Allen and the Blue Ridge Mountain Boys. They toured together for about 3 years. From 1955-1957 he worked with the Chain Mountain Boys out of Detroit where he recorded his first RPM. These recordings included the popular “New Camptown Races.”
Frank Moved on the tour with Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys until 1958. Next, Frank reunited with Red Allen to form Red Allen, Frank Wakefield and the Kentuckians. It’s with this band that he appeared at Carnegie Hall in 1963.
In 1964, Frank became the mandolinist for the Greenbriar Boys. Then in 1972 he finally launched his solo career. Throughout this period he toured with many popular artists with genres ranging from blues to country to pop. Frank’s album “The Kitchen Tapes” has, to this day, sold over 200,000 copies