Ramona Jones learned to play fiddle from her father as a child, and soon after taught herself mandolin, guitar, and bass. As a young player, she entered – and won – several amateur contests. She told Rachel Goodman in her Southern Songbirds radio series, “I knew that music would get me out of the dire circumstances I was in. I knew that young in my life.”
She broke into show business by joining Sunshine Sue Workman on the radio around the age of 18. Ramona met her husband Louis Marshall “Grandpa” Jones in Cincinnati in the early 1940s. While he served in World War II, she worked on numerous radio shows, including as part of the “all-girl” Happy Valley Girls. After the war, Ramona and Grandpa moved to Nashville, performing regularly on the Grand Ole Opry where she was a rare female instrumentalist, playing mandolin for Bradley Kincaid and appearing as a solo act in 1948.
Over the years, Ramona toured worldwide with her husband, and they also joined the cast of the popular television show Hee Haw – one of the audience’s favorite skits featured Ramona and Grandpa Jones attaching cowbells to their hands and feet and playing various well-known tunes! Together the couple recorded several duets and other songs for various record labels, and she also recorded several solo albums and was included on the compilation album The Women of Old-Time Music. Ramona was a strong advocate for mountain music and generously mentored many next-generation musicians.
Ramona handled much of the business of the couple’s career, and she also ran their musical dinner theater in Mountain View, Arkansas, a popular mainstay of the local tourism industry that featured old-time music.