A Question of Class? Teaching Mountain Music at Virginia
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
- A little over two years ago, in early 2002, I was asked to teach an
upper-division undergraduate course called “Appalachian Folk Cultures.”
Previous incarnations of this
course had examined issues and artifacts ranging from Jack tales to
quilts and gardening. I knew little or nothing about those subjects;
although I have taught interdisciplinary humanities courses for more
than twenty-five years, my principal professional training and research
interests are musicological. On the other hand, I have grown increasingly
interested in America’s musical traditions. For the past fifteen
years and more I have taught courses on popular song, African American
music, and rock. My recent publications include articles on Irish-American
music of the Civil War era, images of America in recent Hollywood films,
and the Trapp Family Singers’ 1940s and 1950s American tours.
I was delighted to have an opportunity to learn more about musical life
in southwestern Virginia, where my family and I have lived for a quarter
Figure 1. The
Blue Ridge Mountains.
Photo by Bob Veltri.
- I mentioned almost all of this to Professor Elizabeth (“Betty”)
Fine, today Head of the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at Virginia
Tech. During the 2002–2003 academic year Betty served as director
of Tech’s Humanities programs within what then was the Center
for Interdisciplinary Studies. I also discussed my excitement and reservations
with Professor Anita Puckett, today Coordinator of our department’s
Appalachian Studies program. Betty and Anita agreed that “my”
version of “Appalachian Folk Cultures” would be advertised,
informally, as “Mountain Music.” Betty also explained that
the course attracted not only juniors and seniors enrolled in such courses,
but Masters candidates in Geography, History, and other subjects. My
students, in other words, might know more than I did, at least about
- I did not share all of my thoughts with Betty and Anita, however.
At least not right away. Instead, I sat down and made some notes about
what I considered perhaps the most challenging aspects of teaching a
course on mountain music. Those aspects can be summarized in a single
word: class. Not in terms of avoiding that subject as in responding
to it. In order to teach “Appalachian Folk Cultures,” I
would have to deal with the region’s inhabitants. A few of them
would be among my students. Of course, others had already been my students,
in other courses. In previous classroom situations, however, I had not
been expected to discuss “local” issues. On the other hand,
not all of my students would be “Appalachian.” To what extent,
I asked myself, would we share particular interests in mountain music?
And would we get along with one another?
- I shall pause to define “Appalachia” later in this article.
Let me begin by saying merely that many of its inhabitants are European
Americans. In other words, white. In many areas they are, literally,
WASPS. Which is to say: not merely white, but specifically Anglo-Saxon
and undeniably Protestant. Hundreds of thousands of Appalachian men
and women are the descendents of English and Scots-Irish immigrants
who arrived in North America during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Today, a majority of those descendents are Baptists or Methodists or
members of the Church of Christ. Many of them vote Republican.
- These facts suggest, stereotypically, the comfortable social circumstances
associated with WASPs. Yet Appalachia has long been one of America’s
least prosperous areas, its offspring among our nation’s least
upwardly mobile citizens. America is supposed to be a classless society.
But it is not. And, in a world of class distinctions, Appalachia is,
or has been, primarily lower-class. Not because of its inhabitants’
races or ethnicities or sexual preferences. But because of poverty.
- Since the 1960s “race” has increasingly become a respectable,
even a required, subject in our nation’s textbooks and classrooms.
The Civil Rights Movement, Brown vs. the Board of Education, and Black
Studies programs have brought large numbers of European-American students
into intellectual contact with African American issues. These phenomena
have not “solved” many racial problems, but they have made
them more visible. Even today, however, “class” is all but
ignored in a great many educational circumstances. I have heard colleagues
of mine proclaim, without qualification or pause, that poverty is a
black issue, or an Hispanic issue, or an immigrant issue. Period. Yet
Appalachia remains poorer than most of the rest of the United States—and
this in spite of the fact that many Appalachian men and women are not
only white, but can boast as many as twelve generations of American
- Any discussion of traditional Appalachian music and the people who
have made it must come to grips with these facts. At Virginia Tech,
however, issues concerning class can be difficult to discuss. Tech’s
history and culture are studded with class contradictions and conflicts.
Ours may be America’s only comprehensive, research-oriented university
where “hillbilly” is occasionally used not merely as a term
of approval, but of self-identification. Yet, to a considerable extent,
Tech’s administrators and many members of its community have distanced
themselves from their own geo-cultural surroundings. To say something
about my own experiences teaching mountain music, therefore, I must
begin by saying something about my experiences—and those of many
others—at Virginia Tech.
Figure 2. The Virginia Tech
campus, with mountains in the background. Photo by Rick Griffiths.
- Founded in 1872 as the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Land Grant
institution of higher learning, Tech was originally known as the Virginia
Agricultural and Mechanical College. The words “and Polytechnic
Institute” were added in 1896, and in 1944 the school was officially
renamed “Virginia Polytechnic Institute.” Only during the
1960s, however, did Tech begin to emerge as a comprehensive university.
In 1965, for example, the Bachelor of Arts degree was reinstated; it
had last been offered in 1886. Tech’s first-ever official music
course was taught in 1967. In 1970, the words “and State University”
were officially added to what was already a rather long name. The result
of these and other efforts have turned an all-male, Corps of Cadets
“college” into a research institution of international caliber
(Kinnear and Robertson). By 1978, when I accepted a joint appointment
in Music and Humanities, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
boasted undergraduate and graduate degree programs in English, Foreign
Languages, History, Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology as
well as a host of technological specialties. Between 1978 and 1980,
Tech hired well over 200 full-time, tenure-track assistant and associate
professors: one-third of all new tenure-track appointments made during
those years at accredited colleges and universities throughout the United
- The 1970s and early 1980s were years of enormous change and growth
at Tech. Nevertheless, the school’s military, mechanical, and
even agricultural origins still make themselves felt almost everywhere
on campus. A majority of Tech students still pursue degrees in agriculture,
architecture, business, and engineering. More than a few old-timers
still consider fine- and liberal-arts programs “marginal”
endeavors. On the other hand, the humanities continue to exfoliate and
even to flourish. During the 2003–2004 academic year, for example,
Tech’s English Department launched an MFA program in Creative
Writing. Other departments, including my own, are preparing to offer
new graduate certificate and PhD programs in liberal arts areas. Last
year, too—and in collaboration with the University of Virginia
and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities—Virginia Tech assumed
leadership of the South Atlantic Humanities Center, underwritten in
part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
- Tech’s history and demographics have set it apart from almost
every other university insofar as the mountains are concerned. Unlike
Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, Tech has been
a bit insecure about anything that suggests coal mines (save in terms
of mining engineering), moonshine, and ramshackle outbuildings. Yet
Tech students and their mascot are known as “hokies.” Not
in the familiar sense of “hokey” (meaning sentimental or
phony), but in the regional sense of “hokie” (meaning a
The “Hokie Yell,” today mostly supplanted at Tech sports
events by the “Tech
Triumph” fight song, is—according to legend—the
noise the bird makes as it says farewell to its lost sexual-identity
signifiers. Yosef (from “yo’ self”), Appalachian State’s
mascot—originally a lazy, genial hillbilly, today a brawny mountain
man—is, perhaps, only a little more explicitly regional. Tech,
in other words, is proud of its populist origins and leanings. Many
Tech students make fun of the University of Virginia, often referred
to as “UVa” (pronounced you-vee-A) or “Charlottesville.”
Familiar throughout the South as “The University” and “Mr.
Jefferson’s University, UVa is Tech’s traditional football
rival. Local folklore holds that Charlottesville men are snobbish sissies,
their women (collectively known as “Muffy”) the products
of pretentious charm schools. On the UVa campus, however, folklore holds
that Tech men are bumpkins or nerds, infatuated with their pocket calculators
and PCs, while their women are farm girls or geeks.
Figure 3. The
Hokie Bird, Virginia Tech’s Mascot, at a fall football
game in Lane Stadium on the Tech campus. Photo by Bob Veltri.
- Prejudices of these kinds may make for exciting football games, but
the facts contradict them. For decades Tech’s undergraduate population
has largely come from “Northern Virginia” (or NoVa), not
from the mountains. In 1995, the last year for which complete figures
are available, 5,320 students—35% of the student body—came
from the comparatively small but densely populated region immediately
adjacent to Washington, DC, and composed of Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudon,
and Prince William counties as well as the cities within or adjacent
to them. Only 2,778 students, or 18%, came from “Western Virginia”:
the much larger but less populated region that includes and lies to
the west of Allegheny, Botetourt, Franklin, Pittsylvania, and Roanoke
counties. Tech’s mascot may be rural, but many of its graduates
are urban and suburban, the children of well-to-do, even wealthy professional
parents. More than a few Hokies drive BMWs and spend their holidays
cruising the Caribbean. Students from western Virginia are more often
the children of lower-class parents; some of them are the first members
of their families ever to attend college. Others, however, are anything
but stereotypically “mountain.” And proud of it. To make
the situation more complex, Tech increasingly draws students from other
parts of the nation. In 2003–2004, the top five “feeder”
states—in order of numbers of students sent Techward—were
Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, and New York. Nor
is this all: Tech boasts a surprising number of foreign undergraduates
and an even higher proportion of foreign graduate students. Last year
I had Belgians, South Africans, and Saudi Arabians in my classes; one
of my Honors students came from Taiwan, another from Zimbabwe.
- Tech, then, sometimes views itself as a multicultural island “lost”
in a sea of mountainous monoculturalism. In Blacksburg, itself located
in Virginia’s Montgomery County. But not of Blacksburg. And thus
“mountain.” Many southwestern Virginians would agree, although
not all of them would approve. One bumper sticker indigenous to the
region reads: “Don’t Montgomery Giles County.” (Giles
County, which lies immediately to the north of Montgomery, is poorer,
less elitist, and much less heavily “bought in” to Virginia
Tech and higher education than Blacksburg and its immediate surroundings.
The local equivalent, in other words, of those 1970s Ecotopian bumper
stickers that read “Don’t Californicate Oregon.”)
“Avoid PhD Pollution,” a phrase popular prior to the 1970s,
is still occasionally bandied about by “locals.” Common
belief has it that university professors drive foreign cars. Locals
or “grits” (from the name of a popular southern breakfast
food) prefer pickup trucks. A stereotypical town-vs.-gown situation,
and one that conceals as much truth as it reveals.
Figure 4. A farm in the Blue
Ridge valley, close to the Tech campus. Photo by Bob Veltri.
- If Tech truly is “in” but not “of” Appalachia,
then “Appalachia” must not be exclusively geographic. What
is it, then? An issue central to Appalachian Studies as an academic
specialty is the on-going attempt to define the field in terms of its
boundaries and subject-matter. Even if one excludes the Maritime Provinces
of Canada as well as New England, New York State, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania—all
of which contain portions of the Appalachian cordillera—it can
be difficult to determine just where “the Southern Highlands”
begin and end. Several important studies of Appalachia have drawn upon
ethnographic information, patterns of cultural behavior, and the demographics
of poverty as well as political mandates in order to define “Appalachia”
in terms of the counties believed to comprise it. In 1910, for example,
John C. Campbell included Montgomery County, where Blacksburg and Virginia
Tech are located, in his survey of the region (Campbell). Campbell’s
“extensive travels” and “dedication to accuracy”
give us, in the words of one expert, “‘the one scientific
project fit to serve as benchmark’ for later regional comparisons”
(qtd. in Ergood 31).
- In 1962, Thomas R. Ford and his colleagues rearranged Campbell’s
boundaries, removing Bedford, Franklin, and other Virginia counties—as
well as portions of Alabama, the Carolinas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and
West Virginia—from their map of the region. According to them,
however, Montgomery County remained “Appalachian.” In 1965,
however, the US Congress, acting on behalf of the recently established
Appalachian Regional Commission (or ARC), excluded Montgomery county—meaning:
Blacksburg and Virginia Tech—from ARC-based programs. At the same
time, Congress added large parts of Mississippi, New York state, Ohio,
and Pennsylvania to ARC maps of “Appalachia.” The Ford and
ARC decisions were based largely on economic and political criteria,
Campbell’s largely on cultural and geographic criteria. Interestingly
enough, Tech’s own division of the Commonwealth into “Central,”
“Northern,” “Western,” and other regions flies
in the face of Campbell’s, Ford’s, and the ARC’s pronouncements.
Tech’s “Valley” region, for example, comprises not
only “Appalachian” counties such as Clarke, but “Northern”
counties such as Fauquier—the last one of Campbell’s “Appalachian”
choices! Everybody, it seems, defines these things differently. And
different rules bolster each and every definition.
- As one might expect, a great many Tech students have vigorous, although
often inconsistent, attitudes toward their immediate surroundings, “hillbillies,”
“mountaineers,” and their own socio-professional aspirations.
Some locals eschew anything pertaining to stereotypically rural or regional
lifestyles. Others, including legal residents of New York and New Jersey,
“go native.” Many students love mountain and country music;
others listen only to rock, or to jazz, or to classical music, or to
“real” country music. More than a few born-and-bred Blacksburg
High School graduates move out of state and never come back. A few graduates
of Pennsylvania and Maryland high schools settle in Blacksburg for the
rest of their lives.
- In his editorial introduction to this Cleveland panel, James Deaville
wrote that teaching “controversial” music, including that
of Appalachia, involves teaching material “positioned as inferior”
throughout music of America. This music, Deaville correctly maintains,
is widely considered the creation of a subaltern culture. How, then,
to teach it? Especially when the teacher (me) is an outsider? True,
I have lived for several decades in Montgomery County. But I wasn’t
born here, and I didn’t go to school here. Until a few years ago,
in fact, I’d never attended an “old-timey” concert;
the “folk music” I grew up with back in the 1960s was sung
and played—on phono records—by the likes of Joan Baez, Woody
Guthrie, and Pete Seeger. These last details, though, I consider unimportant.
I never heard Liszt play, but I feel comfortable writing about his German
concert tours of the 1840s. In 2002 I felt not only comfortable with,
but excited by, learning more about mountain music.
- More problematic for me was my students. Who would they be? What
would they think about “hillbillies”? Would they be mostly
locals or novas? “Preps” (which is to say, the upwardly
mobile; those who prepared carefully for college)? Or grits? What would
they know—if anything—about the Child
singing, the Carter
family, or bluegrass banjo music? Would they know who Béla
Fleck was? Or Alison
Krauss? Would they have seen O
Brother Where Art Thou? or Songcatcher? More to the
point: what might they have thought about it?
- What I discovered, shortly after Fall Semester 2002 began, was that
the thirty-odd students I encountered in class twice each week were
indeed a mixed bag. Four of them were pursuing Master’s degrees
in economics, philosophy, or political science. Five of them, on the
other hand, were freshmen—and this in spite of regulations requiring
“Introduction to Appalachian Studies,” a lower-division
course, as a prerequisite, as well as “permission of the instructor.”
About half of them were NoVas or came from out-of-state; the rest were
locals and a few of them self-professed “country folk.”
(The most irritating of this last contingent was a brash fellow who
answered every question for the first four or five weeks of class in
imitation of Karl Childers, the protagonist of Billy Bob Thornton’s
movie Slingblade.) Two young women were nieces of Ralph Stanley,
for decades a mountain-music legend and today known around the world
for his contributions to the Coen Brothers’ film O Brother,
Where Art Thou? A third young woman was just learning to play clawhammer
banjo. A fourth came from a family of dulcimer makers. About a half-dozen
of these students, “city” as well as “country,”
men as well as women, could sing a verse or two from “the old
ballads,” but none of them had ever heard of Francis James Child.
Most of them knew who the Carters were and several owned Carter Family
CDs; only one of them had ever seen a shape-note hymnal, however, and
even she had no idea that shape-note singing has been and still is practiced
throughout the south by blacks as well as whites. More than a third
of the class had never before taken a course in anything “folksy.”
Figure 5. Local
music-making in Montgomery County, VA. Photo by Gary Colbert.
- In these virtual pages I shall not attempt to review precisely what
I taught or why. I made my share of mistakes. One of them I very much
regret: I scolded three students for talking during a musical demonstration
and snapped at one of them when he refused, after class, to apologize
for his behavior. Anita Puckett later explained to me that a lot of
southwestern Virginians perceive music largely as a social lubricant
and aren’t used “merely” to listening to it. Here
was cultural conflict in action! I apologized, the student apologized
in turn, and things settled down. On another occasion, one I do not
regret, I had to ask the Billy Bob Thornton wannabe to cut out his asides
about “hillbilly wimmin.” We had been discussing sexual
stereotypes pertaining to Appalachia and “John” (not his
real name) just couldn’t resist a few rude remarks. Nor were all
of my assignments equally effective. I began by discussing a large slab
of D. K. Wilgus’s classic monograph on songcatchers. It was simply
too difficult for my charges to grapple with. Nor did all of my students
enjoy the taped examples I asked them to copy and listen to at home.
Perhaps the most offensive comment of the term came from one young prep,
who complained that “all of this stuff sounds alike.” To
my ears, a 1930s field-recorded fiddle rendition of “Sally
Goodin” in few ways resembles Les Paul’s arrangement
Rock-a-Rolla.” Although, to give each side its due, I pointed
out that these and other examples of mountain or mountain-influenced
music have been lumped together as “country” by a lot of
people. There was a tense moment or two before a few of the students
agreed with me and discussion resumed.
Figure 6. A bluegrass ensemble
performing at “Steppin’ Out,” Blacksburg’s
August arts festival. Photo by Bob Veltri.
- In the syllabus I drew up I sought to examine two principal issues.
For me the first, in terms of importance and scope, was authenticity.
To what extent and/or in what ways can we talk about “authentic”
mountain music? Crucial to this part of the course was Richard Peterson’s
stimulating discussion of how authenticity was and continues to be manufactured
in country-music circles. I wanted to help my students deconstruct Appalachia’s
cultural-musical boundaries. I wanted them to understand how and why
“mountain” music served during the 1920s and 1930s as fodder
for the emerging commercial “country” music machine. How
and why, for instance, traditional subjects gestures can be found even
in so-called “Hawaiian” music of the 1950s, as well as in
the “cowboy” ballads and songs popularized by Republic Pictures.
These kinds of manufactured traditions teach us not only that Appalachian
music has traveled much of the world, but that it cannot often be distinguished
absolutely from other forms of traditional and commercial popular music.
The Carter Family is a case in point: even in their earliest performances
and recordings, the Carters combined aspects of balladry, hymnody, gospel
music, parlor song, and popular gesturing into what many people today
consider quintessential—and “authentic”—Appalachian
music. In considering these issues, Peterson explains that such conflations
are also “authentic” if accepted as such.
- Second in importance for me as subject-matter, but first in terms
of class discussion, was origins. How far back can we meaningfully go
to learn about the music made in the southern Appalachians? In order
to understand something of the documentary record, I asked my students
to read several articles about traditional American music. I also asked
them to examine a few of the early reports about mountain music-making,
and I expected them to know something about the ballads and tunes collected
in the “southern highlands” from the end of the Civil War
through the 1930s. I assigned portions of George Pullen Jackson’s
White Spirituals in the Southern Uplands, which deals with
the rich and complex history of “Kentucky Harmony” and shape-note
singing, as well as Benjamin Filene’s “Setting the Stage,”
which—among other things—discusses the roles played by Child,
Cecil Sharp, and other field researchers into traditional American music.
The opening chapter of Robert Cantwell’s Bluegrass Breakdown,
largely devoted to iconic “mountain” musician Bill Monroe,
provided insights into mountain life as the source of and inspiration
for the development of a distinctive musical culture.
- To stimulate discussion of these and other issues I drew heavily
upon Hollywood films. Students watched, then applauded or jeered clips
from such diverse movies as L’il Abner, Melvin Frank’s
1959 film adaptation of Johnny Mercer’s Broadway musical score—itself
based on Al Capp’s mythical Dogpatch and its inhabitants’
shenanigans—and Deliverance, John Boorman’s 1972
film adaptation of James Dickey’s description of homicidal lunacy
in the northern Georgia mountains. Together the students and I debated
not only these stereotypical representations of mountain peoples, but
to consider the origins of our own attitudes toward “rubes”
- At no point during the semester did discussion threaten outright
disruption, but it became clear that a few students—locals as
well as NoVas and other “slickers”—the words became
jokes after a while (although the attitudes that underlay them were
almost always taken seriously)—didn’t want to talk or even
write about the rape scene in Deliverance. Even John balked
at commenting on anything that “gay.” Class members were
also reluctant to acknowledge that real-life human beings might, in
fact, resemble in certain respects such outlandish figures as Daisy
Mae, Earthquake McGoon, or (one of my favorites) Senator Phogbound.
We quickly agreed that Mercer’s music for L’il
Abner wasn’t very “authentic” (even though
Mercer himself remains the most successful “southern” composer
of popular songs). And we disagreed about the authenticity of the “Dueling
Banjos” number in Deliverance—a piece of music,
as I pointed out, that was published during the 1950s and had to be
considered “commercial” as well, perhaps, as “traditional.”
- Finally, a few words on controversy. In “Appalachian Folk Cultures”
there was little of it, at least on the surface. I did not seek to stimulate
argument for its own sake, and most of the students seemed happy to
avoid it. There was no name-calling, no overt ridicule of country (or
city) ways. Yet the course as a whole struck several people on campus
as … it is difficult to find the proper words. A few were enthusiastic,
of course. Others, however, found the course itself not so much “offensive”
as “unnecessary,” even “time-wasting.” Deaville
is correct: teaching “marginal” material continues to be
“regarded as transcending the traditional boundaries of appropriateness
established within the academy.” Not so much in my classroom,
however, as in a few of my colleagues’ offices. It was the course
itself that “offended”—I use his word—one professor
in our Music Department, a department I
cheerfully left in 1996, when the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies
provided more secure and broad-minded home for several programs on the
Figure 7. Informal music-making
at Solitude, at one time the administrative center of Tech’s
Appalachian Studies program. Photo by Rick Griffiths.
- Perhaps the “problem,” to the extent that it exists,
can be summarized as follows: Why talk about what we already know? (“We,”
in this case, being those who have doubts about Appalachian Studies
courses, or at least about “Appalachian Folk Cultures” and
traditional local music.) We already know there’s tunes in them
thar hills. We know we despise them, or tolerate them, or laugh about
them. We know they’re not the tunes we want to listen to on the
radio. Not classical music, or jazz. And certainly not on good car radios:
not in Audis or BMWs. That stuff’s okay for truckers, maybe—although
I myself have difficulty imagining a large market among commercial truck-drivers
for shape-note singing or the Flecktones, much less for Broadway show
tunes. Perhaps, however, this merely reflects my own cultural prejudices.
- We all have them. Prejudices, that is. Don’t let anybody tell
you otherwise. Perhaps the best thing for me about teaching a course
on mountain music was learning more about how I, myself, saw and experienced
the world immediately surrounding me. I believe that everyone, or almost
everyone, in class improved his or her understanding of the cultural
baggage we carry with us. A few students were moved to jettison some
of that baggage. I tried to lose a little of it too. We listened to
a lot of good music. Most of the students gave respectable class presentations
and wrote satisfactory final examinations. A few did brilliant work.
And, when exams were over, we all got to go home for the Christmas holidays
just as the season’s first snow fell on the Blue Ridge.
Essay • Next
Books and Articles
Boman, Rex. “Counties line up for a piece of Appalachia (Or, to
be blunt, a slice of federal aid dollars planned for the region)”
Richmond Times-Dispatch. 21 December 2003.
Campbell, John C. The Southern Highlander and His Homeland. New
York: Russell Sage, 1921. Lexington: University of Kentucky
Cantwell, Robert. Bluegrass Breakdown: The Making of the Old Southern
Sound. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1984.
Dawidoff, Nicholas. In the Country of Country: People and Places in
American Music. New York: Pantheon, 1997.
Ergood, Bruce. “Toward a Definition of Appalachia.” Appalachia:
Social Context, Past and Present. Ed. Bruce Ergood and Bruce E.
Kuhre. 2nd ed. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt, 1983.
Fenster, Mark. “Commercial (and/or?) Folk: The Bluegrass Industry
and Bluegrass Traditions.” Reading Country Music: Steel
Guitars, Opry Stars, and Honky-Tonk Bars. Ed. Cecilia Tichi. Durham:
Duke UP, 1998. 74–97.
Filene, Benjamin. “Setting the Stage: Identifying an American Folk
Music Heritage, 1900–1930.” Romancing the Folk: Public
Memory & American Roots Music. Chapel Hill: University of North
Carolina Press, 2000. 9-46.
Ford, Thomas, ed. The Southern Appalachian Region:
A Survey. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1962.
Gentry, Linnell. A History and Encyclopedia of Country, Western, and
Gospel Music. Nashville: McQuiddy, 1961. St. Clair Shores, MI: Scholarly
Jackson, George Pullen. White Spirituals in the Southern Uplands:
The Story of the Fasola Folk, their Songs, Singings, and “Buckwheat
Notes.” Hatboro, PA: Folklore Associates, 1964.
Kinnear, Duncan Lyle. The First 100 Years: A History of Virginia Polytechnic
Institute and State University. Blacksburg: VPI Foundation, 1972.
Malone, Bill C. Singing Cowboys and Musical Mountaineers: Southern
Culture and the Roots of Country Music. Athens: University of Georgia
Peterson, Richard A. Creating Country Music: Fabricating Authenticity.
Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1997.
Robertson, Jenkins Mikell. Historical Data Book: Centennial Edition.
Blacksburg: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University,
Sanjek, David. “Blue Moon of Kentucky Rising Over the Mystery Train:
The Complex Construction of Country Music.” Reading Country
Music: Steel Guitars, Opry Stars, and Honky-Tonk Bars. Ed. Cecilia
Tichi. Durham: Duke UP, 1998. 22–44.
Shapiro, Henry D. Appalachia on Our Mind: The Southern Mountains and
Mountaineers in the American Consciousness, 1870–1920. Chapel
Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1978.
Tribe, Ivan M. Mountaineer Jamboree: Country Music in West Virginia.
Lexington: Univeristy of Kentucky Press, 1984.
Wilgus, D. K. Anglo-American Folksong Scholarship since 1898.
New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 1959.
The Carter Family. The Carter Family: Country Music Hall of Fame
Series. MCA MCAD 10088, 1991.
Fleck, Béla and the Flecktones. Outbound. Columbia CK
Krauss, Alison & Union Station. So Long So Wrong. Rounder
CD 0365, 1997.
Li'l Abner: Original Broadway Cast Recording. Columbia SK 87700,
O Brother, Where Art Thou? Mercury 088 170-072-2, 2000.
Paul, Les. Les Paul: The Legend and the Legacy. Part 4. Capitol
CDP 7 97658, 1991.
Smith, Harry, ed. Anthology of American Folk Music. Vol 3. Folkways
SFW 40090/A 28750, 1997.
Songcatcher: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture.
Vanguard 79586-2, 2001.
Titon, Jeff Todd, comp. Old-Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes. UP of
Wiregrass Sacred Harp Singers. Desire for Piety: Songs from the B.F.
White Sacred Harp. New World 80519-2, 1997.
200 Years of American Heritage in Song: 100 Song Collection.
CMH CD 1776, 1991.
Marching Virginians. “Tech Triumph.” By Wilfred P. Maddux
and Mattie Eppes. Recorded material courtesy of the Athletics Prgrams
of Virginia Tech.
Deliverance. Dir. John Boorman. Warner Brothers, 1972.
Li'l Abner. Dir. Melvin Frank. Paramount, 1959.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? Dir. Joel Coen. Buena Vista, 2000.
Slingblade. Dir. Billy Bob Thornton. Miramax, 1996.
Songcatcher. Dir. Maggie Greenwald. Lion’s Gate, 2000.