Appalachia Music Oconaluftee/Smokemont

Lufty Baptist Church

Oconaluftee church smoky mtn park

A few months back, we visited the Lufty Baptist church in the Smoky Mountain National Park. If you’ve been reading the Blind Pig for a while-you probably remember when we hiked back to the Little Cataloochee Baptist Church.

Last fall Chatter was looking through some videos when she came across the one we filmed at Little Cataloochee. She said “You know that was one of funnest things we ever did. Didn’t you say there were other churches in the park?” I said “Yes,” and she said “Well lets go sing in another one!”

I passed Chatter’s wish along to Don Casada-aka Smoky Mountain Park Expert. With Don’s help we planned a trip to the historic Lufty Baptist Church.

The church is located near Cherokee, NC and is easily accessible. There’s a place to park within view of the church which made carrying the guitar a breeze compared to toting it back to the Little Cataloochee Baptist Church.Smokemont baptist church swain county nc

There’s a sign at the bottom of the hill that reads Smokemont Baptist Church. One closer to the church reads Lufty Baptist Church. Don loaned me a book about the church: Ocona Lufta Baptist Pioneer Church of the Smokies 1836-1939.

The morning we set out for the church was cold, but the day warmed up fast and the sun shone brightly for us. We’d been planning the trip for a few weeks. The girls knew what songs they wanted to sing, but it seemed like every time they planned to practice something came up. I thought well they can at least practice the night before and maybe it’ll be ok.

The night before ended up being filled with teenage angst. Once I realized there’d be no practicing that night either I wondered if we should call the whole thing off, but both girls begged me not to and promised they could handle it.

Visiting lufty baptist church

Since the church was shut up tightly and the sun didn’t quite hit it, the inside was cold! Even though the sun felt warm outside you could literally see your breath inside the building.

Historic buildings in the smoky mtn park

We checked out all the cool details of the church and then it was time to get down to the business at hand.


After the girls changed into their performing outfits they found some flowers that had been thrown over the bank. Don said he bet someone had recently had a wedding at the church. The flowers just happen to match the girls’ outfits which tickled them to death.

Smokemont nc silliness

When the silliness finally subsided (it never goes completely away) the girls made some of the best music they’ve ever made. I’m not sure if they were trying to make it up to me or if it was just the perfect day for singing.

Once we had planned the trip to Lufty Baptist Church, I kept hoping a story would come to me the way the Cora Lee Mease story did when we visited Little Cataloochee. No story came in the days leading up to the trip.

I looked in every nook and cranny of the church the day we were there, but there was no story. I thought well, it may just be about us this time.

A good while after we visited Lufty Baptist Church the story finally came. It’s not anything like the Cora Lee Mease story. Actually it’s more of a connection or a thought than a story.

Drop back by over the coming days for more about the church, the singing, and the story too.


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  • Reply
    B. ruth
    January 13, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    Third time trying to comment…
    Loved the music and post
    Thanks Tipper, and girls

  • Reply
    Peggy Lambert
    January 13, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    The song was great and the girls so pretty. This church is on the North Carolina side of the Smoky Mts. My Uncle Benjamin and aunt Emma Conner Fisher took care of the church for years and one day he was working there and had a heart attack and died. Uncle Ben was a brother to my grandfather Thurman Fisher who was the father of my Mamma.
    They have funerals and weddings for the families who once lived there and the Home Comming the month of August. For a week they
    have preaching and singing. Then on the last day have a big dinner. Pastor Dan Lambert has the old records of the church, but not sure. He lives on Tow String. That name in it’s self is a good story.
    Peggy L.

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    January 13, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Love this and their singing just keeps getting better and better.. That old church sure did enjoy this, I’m sure.

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    January 13, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Pretty Girls-Pretty Singing-Pretty Church. I bet the old members who have passed away could hear it in heaven.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Such beautiful girls and beautiful
    music in a perfect Appalachian
    setting. I’m proud of ’em too and
    I look forward to reading another
    of your stories…Ken

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    January 13, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    What a good idea! I’m sure the old church appreciated those pretty voices ringing through it.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    That song was great, and those hats caught my eye once again.
    That old church, if it could talk don’t you just know the memories of which it could speak. Hard to not to end this sentence without a preposition!

  • Reply
    January 13, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Oh, how beautiful!! I really enjoyed the girls singing and I agree the acoustics in the church was awesome! I think better than the other church. I have been through those old churches and in Cades Cove. Thank the good Lord they have been preserved.

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    January 13, 2013 at 4:16 pm


  • Reply
    January 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    The girls are beautiful and sang beautifully ….really enjoyed it…and always enjoy your blog.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2013 at 2:48 pm


  • Reply
    Ron Perry, Sr.
    January 13, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Great job young ladies. Just be sure that you don’t get into one of those snake handling churches…there might be some rattlers hiding under the seats.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Oh how amazing – the story, the photos, the music!!! I have goosebumps listening, the sound is so wonderful.
    Great job, thank you for sharing

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    January 13, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    I love the feelings you get inside old churches — the feeling of reverence and history and community. If I close my eyes I’m back with my Aunt Cat and Uncle Don whose great joy was to drive miles to worship because they had heard of God working in such and such a church.

  • Reply
    Stephen Ammons
    January 13, 2013 at 11:08 am

    I really enjoyed this song performed but the girls. The acoustics in the building were prefect and the guitar volume to voices couldn’t have been better. I also must add that the great big grin from chitter or chatter after finding the flowers just added to the perfection of the whole thing. Sorry that I can’t keep their names straight. I am betting there were a bunch of angels in heaven tapping their feet listening to the girls. Thank you all again.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2013 at 11:07 am

    The girls really showed their stuff. Great work! Goal accomplished; I loved it! I enjoy going through old churches to see how worship was done in a bare bones house of worship. Thanks for the entertainment. I am looking forward to your story.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Benny-sorry about that! Try going directly to youtube to watch it-go here:
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    January 13, 2013 at 10:20 am

    I love their version of this song…put a song in my step today:) Letting my light shine:)

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 13, 2013 at 9:34 am

    The song is beautiful. Sung by two equally beautiful young ladies. The cold crisp air and stark bare walls inside the old church are all the “studio” the girls need.
    Did any of you stop to think that this same song might have been sung by the children of the community back when they and the church were still alive? Did you ponder the thought that the flowers were left from a wedding long long ago. Time stops in places like that, you know.

  • Reply
    Will Dixon
    January 13, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Very nice. I think you folks have grown up in a very nice part of our country, and have made use of every day in it.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Wonderful to see your daughters making memories in a place steeped in mountain memories.

  • Reply
    benny watt terry
    January 13, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Tried but the arrow button would not bring up the video. benny

  • Reply
    January 13, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Watched/heard the video- WOW! Great job, girls! I think the acoustics are better here than at Little Cataloochee. Great choice for a song, and such a blend :-).Makes me wonder what the difference is in the wood for building.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2013 at 8:26 am

    When I saw the title, I wondered if it was ‘Ocona Lufty’, or however they spell it- in the Park.I’m continually amazed at how many settlements, churches, etc. are up in there, besides the familiar Cades Cove. I love the pictures, and look forward to more tales of this venture.

  • Reply
    Lonnie Dockery
    January 13, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Great! They’re getting better and better!

  • Reply
    January 13, 2013 at 8:18 am

    what a beautiful old church, my kind of church. the girls sound amazing, i love what the empty church does to the sound. it’s beautiful.

  • Reply
    Tim Mc
    January 13, 2013 at 8:14 am

    I love those old Churches,, sure is sad to know that most the people whom attend are all gone now,, But the spirit wasn’t in the building,, but still gives you a familiar feeling just seeing the picture or being near one,, as the song the girls sang “this little light of mine” enjoyed it very much..

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 13, 2013 at 7:57 am

    They sure know how to make a grandmother proud! I look forward to the ‘rest of the story!”

  • Reply
    January 13, 2013 at 7:33 am

    That was great! They need to do all their singing in that church.

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