b. Nolan Rinehart, 12 March 1911, near Gustine, Texas, USA, d. 28 October 1948. Little is known of Rinehart, especially of his early life, but he grew up in a ranching area. A natural singer, he learned to play guitar and probably made his first broadcasts on local radio in Brady. In the 30s, his down-to-earth cowboy singing saw him become one of the most popular artists ever to appear on XEPN, a border radio station situated at Piedras Negras, just inside the Mexican border. In his early days at XEPN, he worked for a time with the then established Patsy Montana. She toured the east coast of America with Rinehart and was amazed to find how many people regularly listened to the powerful border radio broadcasts. His ability to sell his sponsor’s products over the air led to him becoming known as the King Of Border Radio. He recorded many transcription discs, sometimes under differing names, which were broadcast as live programmes on various stations. A strong willed person, he was difficult to pin down, as singing cowboy Ken Maynard discovered, when he tried to arrange for Rinehart to audition for some appearances in his cowboy films. Maynard rated Rinehart the greatest cowboy singer that he had heard in his life. When eventually Rinehart went to Hollywood, he later maintained that the studio did not want him to perform with his guitar but as a crooner fronting an orchestra. They also wanted him to use Nolan, instead of the German-sounding Rinehart. It seems probable, since his prospected film career never happened, that Rinehart told the studio what to do with the job. He remained with border radio, where he sold vast numbers of his songbooks to his many fans, until his death. It has been written that, at the time, he was about to become involved more with the administrative side of border radio but this was never to happen. On 28 October 1948, he was killed in a car crash in Detroit, Michigan. He may have been making a few rare appearances away from border radio but it is also possible, since he had a recording contract from Decca in his pocket, that he was on his way to make his first commercial recordings.
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