Appalachian Attitude, for those of you uninitiated, is WMMT’s weekly program with an Appalachian attitude. Every Monday from 4-6 p.m., hosts Wiley Quixote and Pam Shingler bring you local music and literature along with live interviews with musicians, writers, artists, and interesting Appalachians of all sorts from throughout our region. This past Monday, June 25, Pam Shingler conducted a phone interview with Lynn Nickell of Morgan County, Ky., the author of a brand-new book about a little-known but nonetheless fascinating Kentucky native: Paul Gilley.
A native of Morgan County himself, Paul Gilley is credited with writing some of the 20th century’s most famous songs, including two made famous by none other than Hank Williams, Sr.: “Cold, Cold Heart” and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” He also wrote many other tunes that Hank Sr. recorded, and had many other songs made famous by other artists, such as “If Teardrops Were Pennies” (Carl Smith), “When Stars Get In Your Eyes” (Perry Como), “Crazy Arms” (Ray Price), and many, many more. Sadly, Gilley drowned at the age of just 27, and over the years his story had been largely forgotten. Nickell has worked to bring Gilley’s story to light, however, both in releasing this brand-new biography, Ghost Writer in the Sky, as well as in helping to plan a festival dedicated to his memory, Paul Gilley Day, which was held June 9 in Maytown, Ky.
In this 40-minute interview, Mr. Nickell discusses this brand-new biography, delving into many details of Paul Gilley’s brief-but-fascinating life and career. For a copy of the book, you can write to Lynn Nickell at 440 Riverside Drive, West Liberty, KY 41472 or to firstname.lastname@example.org.