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Mtn. News: Musical, Cultural, & Economic Histories

Mtn. News: Musical, Cultural, & Economic Histories


Uncle Ed Thomas in the Big Doubles area of Knott County, KY.

This episode is chock full of local & regional Appalachian history!

First, WMMT’s Rachel Garringer brings us along to a dulcimer rehearsal for a dinner theater performance of “Plenteous Heritage” taking place at the old Carr Creek High school in Knott County, Kentucky on October 19, 2019.  “Plenteous Heritage” is narrative poem written by Margaret Humes Collins and published in 1966. Collins was the last Executive Director of the Carr Creek Settlement School, which was replaced by the Carr Creek High School in the late 1930s. In it she describes a family meal where a dulcimer maker visits and plays the family a set of tunes. Local community historian Mark Flanagan believes the fictional family was based on the Johnson family of Cody, and the fictional dulcimer maker was based on Uncle Ed Thomas – a renown dulcimer maker and carpenter of the Big Doubles area.

During this piece we’ll hear Randy Wilson leading a dulcimer rehearsal with other folks who will be in the performance, Mark Flanagan singing a tune he wrote about Uncle Ed Thomas, and Linda Elliot singing a poem by Margaret Humes Collins that Elliot arranged the dulcimer tablature for.

Then, WMMT’s Sydney Boles talks with Dr. Ron Eller.  Eller is a distinguished historian of Appalachia and has written two books on the region: Miners, Millhands and Mountaineers, on the early industrialization of Appalachia, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize,  AND, Uneven Ground, A history of Appalachia since 1945. Dr. Eller served for 15 years as the  Director of the University of Kentucky Appalachian Center and is the eighth generation of his family to call Appalachia home.  He talks with Sydney about histories of development in Eastern Kentucky. 

And finally, Rich Kirby brings us some history of the Johnson City Sessions – a series of iconic recordings made in 1928-1929 by Columbia Records.  He also gives us the scoop on the upcoming Johnson City Sessions 90th Anniversary Celebration taking place Oct. 18-19, 2019 at Eastern Tennessee State University.  

Intro and outro music features The Bentley Boys with “Down on Penny’s Farm.” The host for this episode is Dustin Hall, and the show was produced by Rachel Garringer.







appalachian history,
Appalachian Literature,
Appalachian Writers,
arts & culture,
economic transition,
Johnson City Sessions,
Ron Eller,
traditional music program,
Uncle Ed Thomas,