Howard Sisk (nicknamed Curly) was a guitarist and longtime friend and colleague of Don Gibson. Raised in North Carolina, he lived in the town of Shelby and first crossed paths with Gibson when the latter -- a young teenager at the time, the same age as Sisk -- was earning most of his money shooting pool. They both played guitar, however, and soon music began to eclipse hustling pool as their favorite activity. Sisk began inviting Gibson over to his mother's boarding house, where the two boys entertained the residents on Saturday nights with their music. Sisk was later a charter member of Gibson's first group, the Sons of the Soil, playing on local radio. From that modest beginning in the 1930s, his career was linked to Gibson's for the next several decades, though his only official recording with Gibson was limited to the Sons of the Soil recordings for Mercury Records in early 1949.