b. William Napier, 17 December 1935, near Grundy, Wize County, Virginia, USA, d. 3 May 2000, Gray, Tennessee, USA. A love of the Stanley Brothers’ music saw Napier learn to play mandolin, and in 1954, after relocating to Detroit to find factory work, he played in the evenings with a local band, Curly Dan And Wilma Ann With The Danville Mountain Boys. He began to play lead guitar, and in 1957, he became a member of the Stanley Brothers’ Clinch Mountain Boys. He recorded his own ‘Daybreak In Dixie’ with them and introduced acoustic lead guitar work to the Stanleys’ recordings. In 1960, he left the Stanleys and he and Charlie Moore formed the Dixie Partners. They worked together with their band until 1967, during which time they recorded nine albums for King Records, the last being released after they split. During this time, Napier played lead guitar or banjo (which he used for the first time) and rarely played his mandolin. They appeared regularly on radio and television shows in South Carolina and Florida and made countless festival appearances in various states.
After he and Moore parted, Napier, who maintained his home in the Detroit area, became semi-retired. He made occasional appearances, and in the 70s, he again played with Curly Dan And Wilma Ann. He made some recordings with them, and also with Charlie Moore. In 1984, he recorded his only solo album with a group called the Mountain Music Clan for Old Homestead Records, before he began to work and record with Larry Taylor And His Waterloo Bluegrass Boys. In the 90s he performed occasionally with his wife Carla Napier. He was an exemplary and original player who transferred his ability on mandolin to guitar with ease.