Appalachia Music Oconaluftee/Smokemont

The Pressley Girls Return To Lufty Baptist Church

Lufty Baptist Church the pressley girls

On a chilly day last November we made a trip back to the Historic Lufty Baptist Church for The Pressley Girls to do a little singing.

The pressley girls sing at historic church

Don and Susan Casada were our tour guides for the day. We started out with a short hike just down the road from the church. Our thinking was while we were hiking the sun would rise high enough to be shining it’s warmth on the church by the time we got there.

Historic Smokemont Church
We got to the church about 1:00 and were surprised to see the small parking lot filled to capacity-there was even a bus! It didn’t take but a minute of peering through the woods to figure out they were having a wedding at the church. It looked like there would be no singing and we were so disappointed!

Thankfully Don and Susan saved the day. Since they live fairly close by we decided to go hang out at their place for a couple of hours and then try it again. It was so chilly we thought surely the wedding wouldn’t take too long.

The pressley girls 2013 lufty baptist church

Lucky for us our logic worked and by the time we got back to the church the wedding folks were gone. They had even left the electricity turned on for us which was a good thing since the late afternoon light was fading fast.

The pressley girls 1

The girls got right to work. The freezing temps hurried us along and we knew there was only so much daylight left. Right off the bat we got the main song we wanted filmed.

The next song proved a little more difficult and we kept having to start over. They almost made it through the song when the door suddenly opened and scared the beejeebus out of all of us! It was the caretakers coming to turn the electricity off.

Once they finished their job and cleared out we moved in front of one of the windows and finally got the second song filmed with the extra light. For the last 3 songs we had to move out into the foyer area of the church where there was more light.

A few of my favorite photos from the day:

The pressley girls 2

The pressley girls 3

The pressley girls 4

The pressley girls are silly

Even the cold temps couldn’t keep the silliness away from The Pressley Girls.

The pressley girls 6

We had handwarmers but they didn’t offer much warmth for hands or noses. They finally heated up about the time we pulled in the driveway later that night.

The video below is the first song recorded on our return to the Lufty Baptist Church-a Pressley Girls original He Is Real.

I hope you enjoyed the chilly tale of our visit and of course I hope you enjoyed the original song by The Pressley Girls.

Even with the cold and the unexpected wedding-it was another fantastic experience at the Ocona Lufta Baptist Church.


p.s. If your on Facebook-you can keep up with The Pressley Girls by liking their page here.

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  • Reply
    Jane ODell
    January 23, 2022 at 1:07 pm

    Such a great song and I love to hear the girls sing!!!! Thank you for this gift this morning!

  • Reply
    Rick Shepherd
    August 18, 2019 at 8:32 am

    Tipper, the girl’s song is beautiful…..How can I find the words to He Is Real in printed form?…..I’m 72 with a bit of a hearing and understanding problem…..I couldn’t make out some of what they were singing…..As always, I thoroughly enjoy your posts and writings.

    ps….Could you please email me your reply and maybe include the words to Baby Blue Eyes?….Thanks!

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    March 4, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    must have been a great day love the song and the girls singing thanks for posting it

  • Reply
    Marc Kruger
    December 31, 2013 at 10:39 am

    With the clogging and now the singing, you and your family must be very proud of your daughters. They are certainly talented and I hope they expand on their talents as they grow older and pass their music and dance abilities onto their children. Are they also as gifted in writing as you are, Tipper?

  • Reply
    December 29, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    Chilly, but well done! I am thinking that Granny made those charming hats. I loved them; lucky girls they are.
    The song was beautiful and worth their efforts.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    December 29, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    and Don…guess you got it right about the noise…and the cold! I understand that noise…
    We got back about an hour or so ago from our granddaughters holiday traveling basketball tournament. I sure didn’t see any noisy motorcycles on the this cold day on the Interstate whizzing around! We went from I-40 over to Clinton Hwy…nary a one that I remember!
    Doggone, the girls lost by one point…23 to 22…after beating ever team (one team didn’t even score a point) up until today! This is a very young traveling team and her first year playing on the team…Their regular team (season) resumes after school starts! Always next year I told my granddaughter and she played good!
    I guess that Vinca Minor was just hiding from me in plain site…I was more interested in the big tree that looked like it had a scar and what looked like a piece of leftover “bobbed ware”…
    I don’t supposed being blind and old counts in this here
    “guessament contest”?
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…Just wanted to check in and see what the “old homestead” clue was…and brag a bit about how my granddaughters team played!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    December 29, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    b. Ruth,
    I agree with Tipper on the choice of the time of year. In warm weather, the vehicle noise in that area would make it very unlikely to get a song finished without excessive background noise. I’ve heard motorcycles from the top of Hughes Ridge, literally 5 miles as the crow flies, in that very area. The church is only 125 yards away from US 441.
    The home site indicator that I see in the photo is periwinkle. You can see it poking through the leaves in the foreground area around Tipper and Chatter.
    Bradley, the current church is shingled. A photo in a special collection at the Univ. of Tennessee shows what appears to me to be the current church structure (with the steeple missing) with wood shingles which had clearly been recently installed (roof supports used by the roofers were still in place). The back of that photo states that the photo was taken in 1906 and that the steeple was added in 1918.
    The Park Service sign at the church, as well as the national historic register documentation, submitted by a Park Service historian in 1975, indicates the existing church building dates to 1912. The national historic register entry indicates that it had a metal roof in 1975 (I should be able to remember if that is right or not, but I don’t).
    One would think that national historic register and Park Service information would be reliable, but another national historic register site in Swain County – the Hall Cabin, submitted by the same Park Service historian, states that the Hall Cabin was “erected by a man named Hall in 1910.” The cabin was at the Jesse Craten Hall homesite. The 1910 date is problematic, since Crate Hall died in 1903. So I’m not at all sure that I’d put full faith in the Park Service on the church dating.

  • Reply
    December 29, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    B-I said the same thing about going when its cold LOL! But if we went in the summer months thered be much more people visiting at the same time-and MUCH louder traffic going by on the road as people went to and fro sight seeing : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    December 29, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this experience and including us! You girls are just the sweetest.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 29, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Whirred them Chitter and Chatter girls git to?
    The cowboy boots are to conceal the fact that mountain people have one leg longer than the other. We have evolved that trait to help us walk around the mountainside. It works real good except we have to go all the way around to get back where we started. To get to the top we have to go round and round gaining a little elevation every time. Kinda like a cork screw. That might have been the derivation of the expression “screwed up”

  • Reply
    Phyllis S
    December 29, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    One of the best songs yet by these two beautiful girls.
    Thank you.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    December 29, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    No wonder you’re so proud of your
    girls! Looks like you got another
    Song Writer like Pap…I bet he’s
    so Proud! Until I read Cindy’s
    comment I didn’t know Corie wrote
    it. Nice blog today…Ken

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    December 29, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Katie and Corie….Thank you for the beautiful song. Well done, girls…
    I was freezing while looking at all the pictures. I wonder why you folks pick a cold day to sing in an old restored church? I know it has “great acoustics”…but if I was singing and it that cold, the “vibrato” would be so exaggerated that you would not be able to understand the words…
    Of course, (remember the devil made me say this), it would be a cold day before I could ever roll up that hill and sing in an antique church!
    Thanks Tipper and girls…
    and Don and Sandra…the pictures are wonderful…
    PS…I think I have missed something but I think I see an old rusty wire coming out of that large tree to the left…that would be a sure sign of an old homeplace (made do fence post), we have a couple around here…other than what I thought I saw in the background, some boxwood!

  • Reply
    December 29, 2013 at 11:18 am

    What can I Say? So blown away AGAIN by the talent of the BP Gang! The Pressley Girls are amazing and the new song is just beautiful. Such a great way to start our Sunday!

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    December 29, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Beautiful! Thank you!!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    December 29, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Even with a migraine going on inside my head, that was a great day for the Casada couple. The church was chilly, but there was a warm spirit, thanks to Corie and Katie. The melody of Corie’s song is haunting, and the words are mindful of those of Pap.
    I’ve got to share a photo that I snapped while we were eating lunch near what had once been the home place of Charlie Conner, for whom Charlies Bunion is named. During most of the lunch, there was a lively banter (which is usually the case when the girls are around), but I caught this during a lull.
    I bet that one of the Blindpig readers might be able to spot something in the photo which indicates that this was once a home place.

  • Reply
    December 29, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Nicely performed song.
    I’ve noticed the boots before – seems you mentioned once before that one girl is particularly fond of them – but when did cowboy boots come to Appalachia?

  • Reply
    December 29, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Beautiful, so nicely choreographed with a wonderful historical setting. 🙂

  • Reply
    December 29, 2013 at 8:32 am

    That fiddle has a good sound! The song was great.
    That old church looks like it might have a tin roof. If it does, can’t help but think of how great it would be to sleep there some night during a thunderstorm in Summer when it is warm. I can just hear the cicadas and see the fire flies in the distance and then later, the flicker of lightning in the distance while the storm approached. Strange what thoughts can come to mind.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    December 29, 2013 at 8:04 am

    Tipper: Those PRESSLEY GIRLS Are sounding mighty smooth and looking mighty beautiful – even in the chilly Lufty Church. Maybe someday soon I will visit that Church! Thanks for a wonderful post on a bright but cold day in Tennessee!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    December 29, 2013 at 7:47 am

    It is such a beautiful church, worth visiting over and over what memories it must hold.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 29, 2013 at 7:24 am

    That’s a beautiful song that Corie wrote, and it’s perfect for the acoustics in the church.
    The girls may still have some sillieness in them but their music is certainly maturing beautifully!

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