Everett native Joe Val was just beginning to get national acclaim as a mandolin player, high tenor vocalist and leader of the New England Bluegrass Boys, when he lost a battle to cancer in 1985 at the age of 59. Joe Valiante was a typewriter repairman between gigs, first focusing on traditional country music, then discovering bluegrass and, as part of the Berkshire Mountain Boys, appearing regularly at the Hillbilly Ranch. He joined the Charles River Valley Boys in the early ’60s in time to record Beatle Country, and formed the New England Bluegrass Boys in 1969, with whom he made six albums on Rounder records. The Joe Val Bluegrass Festival is held each February.
(by Ed Symkus)
Published on December 28, 2012