Appalachia Seasons

The Love of Music


the love of music in Appalachia

The mountain people love it.
All of it.
And most of ’em
love all kinds.
They do a lot of dancing.

Lorene Dickson, 1908 Ashe County – Snowbird Gravy and Dishpan Pie




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  • Reply
    April 14, 2017 at 3:32 am

    Many years ago we did clinicals at a Nursing Home. A little lady so senile she could not remember her children were grown. But she would sing out in songs so soulful and beautiful chills would run up your spine. Looking around there were tear filled eyes. Those gospel songs must have been written in her very soul for she stumbled not over her words. This remains the most beautiful sweet voice, and she had sang in church all her days. Something to think about as they study why memory sometimes is a problem as we age.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    April 13, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    Tell it Sister in Christ, some of the best sermons I’ve ever heard were set to music. My Mother had a beautiful Alto voice and her youngest sister has a beautiful Lead. I can remember the Old Timey Decorations where they were often all day events with several Family Groups would sing for the biggest part of the day. My maternal Great Grandmother was Ida Alice Smiley Breedlove who was Red Smiiey’s first cousin the whole Smiley Family seemed blessed with musical talent, this may be whereEd gets his talent since his Great Grandmother was a sister to my Great Grandmother. Their father John Sadoc Smiley. supposedly taught singing lessons as well as being a Preacher, Newspaper Editor and the first Superintendent of Swain County Public Schools.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 13, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    I went on Amazon and ordered “Snowbird Gravy and Dishpan Pie. It costed 45 dollars but if it is what I think it is, it will be worth the price. It is out of print but UNC (yep, The Tarheels) Press prints it, like on demand, I think.

  • Reply
    April 13, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    I’d like to Thank all you folks in Wilson Holler for your dedication to Christ’s Gospel Music. If I count it correctly, there are 4 Groups, including them beautiful Pressley Girls. My Mama had a couple of brothers and their wives that visited us about twice a year. Wade and Hazel and John and Pearly could really make music. I guess the first time I heard “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem” was by them. Talk about Harmony, they could really sing.
    One time I asked Tipper if Chitter and Chatter knew that song, and it wasn’t long till I got an e-mail with them singing it. That made my day! …Ken

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    April 13, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Tipper: Your post today was so special! I was born and raised in the Matheson Cove where picking and singing was just a ‘fun dee mental’ activity – just about any time and especially when folks took up their instrument and gathered on the front porch for an afternoon or evening of playing and singing. I don’t know how I missed out – as I am the only child of ELEVEN CHILDREN who does not play or sing! Last week we attended my brother’s funeral. My sisters did the honor of singing and playing some ‘precious memories’ in his honor!! Soon I will return to place some fresh flowers on his grave.
    Fondly, Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    April 13, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Music is so emotional. Especially old time gospel. I can go from “Amazing Grace” in tears
    to dancing around the house to “Its Shoutin Time In Heaven”.
    Just pick a mood and there is a great song to go with it. .A friend with dementia can remember all the old gospel songs we sang as children but cannot remember what she had for lunch.
    Music does soothe the soul.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    April 13, 2017 at 9:46 am

    Yep, that ’bout sez hit all!
    I love me some of that gettin’ up n’ go pickin’!
    Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 13, 2017 at 9:43 am

    I sing a little but not too well. I play a little but not no better. But, I am one of the best, if not the very best, listener in the world. Right hear is the source of some of the best listening there is. I know, I am an expert!
    Pun intended!

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    April 13, 2017 at 8:57 am

    As my students would say, “Fact!”. Music was such an important part of my growing up. Even now, the best part of going home is to hear my brother and Dad play guitars and sing.
    Lately, I’ve been writing about how music is such a grounding force in my life. Like the quote says, “all kinds” of music takes on significance. I think if you are raised on the old mountain and gospel music, you come up learning a different way of hearing and understanding music.

  • Reply
    Barbara Gantt
    April 13, 2017 at 8:07 am

    I grew up with music. One Aunt played fiddle, guitar, and banjo. I played the piano. All of my 5 children and several of the grandkids have followed in that tradition. The ones that dont play an instrument are the singers. We have traveled and sung Gospel music for years. Moving away from the South didnt remove that love from my family.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 13, 2017 at 7:40 am

    Those are all true statements!

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