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Jan. 3: The resonator guitar and its distinctive sound go way back in hillbilly music and the blues. That the Dobro became ubiquitous in the country and bluegrass fields can be traced largely to one event: Burkett “Josh” Graves joining the Flatt & Scruggs outfit in 1955. He developed an influential style that added a real spark to the classic bluegrass lineup invented a decade earlier by Bill Monroe and his postwar band (which included Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs). Graves and his Dobro are featured on this 1959 number, the B side of the mid-level Billboard country hit “Crying My Heart Out Over You.”

John Dopyera, who invented the Dobro along with his brother Emil, died on this date in 1988. Here’s a completely non-musical article that addresses the development of their instrument. And here’s’s version of the late Josh Graves’ contributions to music.