Past Event

Play That Hot Fiddle: Old Time Radio, Rural Music, and the Life of Southern Illinois Swing Fiddler 'Pappy' Wade Ray

A Road Scholar Program by Dennis Stroughmatt

Pappy Wade RayBorn in 1916 from a southeastern Illinois family, the child prodigy fiddler and singer Wade Ray developed into one of the most endearing entertainers in country and western swing music. Through the medium of radio on shows such as “The Pappy Cheshire Show” on KMOX in St. Louis and the “National Barn Dance” on WLS in Chicago, Wade Ray gained national prestige alongside performers such as Patsy Montana and Rex Allen.

Presenting the fast-swing fiddling and humorous stories of his mentor Wade Ray, Dennis Stroughmatt will lead audiences through the early years of Old Time Radio, its growth because of farming families, and share how music brought America through The Great Depression, WWII, and beyond. This presentation will also be accompanied by rare video of Wade Ray and personal memorabilia from the Wade Ray collection. Stroughmatt will explore the history of Old Time Radio in Illinois, the effect of hillbilly stereotypes on country music, and the influence that Jazz and Dixieland music had on the country music scene of Illinois via the journeys of Wade Ray.

This event is Free and Open to the public. For more information, please contact Phyllis Hostmeyer at

Clinton County Historical Society COVID-19 Policy

Masks optional.

Learn more about Dennis Stroughmatt, this program, and how to book it.