50 Years of Music

Tee Meroney Had Made Plenty of Memories

By Ellen Newman  Special to the Enterprise

  Hilary "Tee" Meroney visited family in Mocksville recently on his way back to his home in Virginia Beach.

  Tee was inspired to play music after seeing the Bill and Charlie Monroe tent show on Wilkesboro Street when he was young.  He got his first guitar from an uncle at around age 11, and learned how to play from everybody in town that played guitar, his brother Gwynn said.

  Soon after graduating from Davie High School in 1958, Tee and two other Davie County boys, Jerry Cope and the late Bob Sechrest, went to Richmond Va., to perform at the WRVA Old Dominion Barn Dance, as a trio.  For the next couple of years they played there and other venues around the Southeast until taking time out for a stint with the Army Reserves.

   When they got back together in 1962, they started doing a live show on local AM radio station WDSL Mocksville.  Tee and Bob Sechrest achieved a regional hit with a song called 'Kentucky."  In 1964, they picked up a daily TV show on channel 8 in High Point.  When that show ended, the act called "Tee and Bob" got a record contract with Nugget Records out of Nashville, Tenn.

   In July of 1964, they packed up everything in an old '57 Chevrolet and moved to Nashville.  After pounding the pavement for awhile, They found a booking agent who got them some work out west.

   A couple of years later, Tee got on playing upright bass for Jimmy Martin and The Sunny Mountain Boys Bluegrass.  He also played lead guitar with Clyde Beavers and worked the military circuit in the late 60s during the Vietnam War,

   Later he got a job fronting for Little Jimmy Dickens and The Country Boys.  He got to play on the Grand Old Opry.

  "I always considered Jimmy Dickens the greatest showman in the business and I still believe he is," he said.  They are still in touch to this day.

   In 1971 Tee was playing in Minneapolis when he got a call from a friend in Virginia Beach asking him to come  and help him open a club called "Nashville East."  Tee worked as house band leader, staying  on for 17 years with several owners.  He was playing a lot of music in clubs, parks and campgrounds in the area.

  "I always joke and say I've played everywhere around here that's got an electric plug."

  He joined the Virginia Country Music Association in 1972 and has received several VCMA awards, including Lifetime Achievement in 2003.  "They've been mighty kind to me," he said.  he's serving his 6th year as the president.

   This year Tee reflected on reaching a personal milestone of 50 years in the music business.  "I guess that's pretty good considering the fact that nobody ever knew who I was," he said with a laugh.  "I guess I've recorded about 50 songs all told, in one form or the other.  I've had a lot of luck in being able to surround myself with good musician.  I've enjoyed working with these great musicians and I've tried to learn something from all of them the best I could."

  "I've had a lot of good memories an I'm just glad I've lasted this long.  I'm now 69 years old and I'm still able to get out there and do it, and I'm proud of that."