PRINCETON, WV (WVNS)– Blind Alfred Reed is considered the grandfather of country music. He lived in Princeton for most of his life, but even after his passing, his face could still be seen around town.
That’s because artist Jeff Pierson painted a mural of Blind Alfred on Mercer Street in 2014. His family still keeps his spirit alive in Southern West Virginia, as they met on Saturday Nov. 9 to remember the man he was.
Reed’s granddaughter Debi Fraley said she remembers hearing stories about him always playing music.
“My mom said he was the type that liked to play music all the time and he was very funny,” Fraley said. “My aunt is here and she remembers him playing music and they were very musical him and his sister Rose, who was also born blind, she didn’t play an instrument but there was a lot of music around the home.”
The building where the mural sits will be demolished, but a different location will soon be a fresh canvas for a new mural of Reed. Fraley said, while they are sad this original mural will be taken down, they are excited to see where it will be remade.
She also said her grandfather would be happy to see all the generations in their family come together.
“It’s really cool. Everybody here I haven’t seen some of my family for quite a while and we are like really excited that Alfred has brought us together, grandpa has brought us together right here,” Fraley said. “He would be really tickled by that. He would be very happy to know his legacy had brought all of us here today to be together.”
Mercer Street is not the only place Reed can be remembered. He played country music and is featured in the County Music Hall of Fame in Bristol, TN.