As the mandolinist in the classic country comedy duo Homer & Jethro, Kenneth Burns was one of the finest instrumentalists of his generation, yet many people never realized that fact. Behind the country hayseed garb, the hick patter, and the outrageous parodies of popular songs, "Jethro" Burns and guitarist Henry "Homer" Haynes were expert jazz musicians whose exaggerated hillbilly appearance and zany sendups of songs belied the cleverness of their comedy and the extraordinarily high quality of their music. From the duo's formation in 1936 to Haynes' death in 1971, Homer & Jethro were immensely popular, selling many records and becoming a fixture at the Grand Ole Opry. After Haynes' death, Burns began a solo career that abandoned comedy in favor of jazzy bluegrass and country. Jethro's music was extremely melodic and graceful, combining elements of jazz, swing, country, folk, and bluegrass, resulting in one of the most distinctive and influential mandolin styles in country music history.