Monthly Archives: March 2007

"How-DEE! I’m just so proud to be here"

Minnie Pearl didn’t start out as Minnie Pearl: she was born Sarah Ophelia Colley. The character we know today emerged when twenty-seven year old Colley was in the midst of producing an amateur musical comedy in Baileyton, AL in 1939. There she met a young mountain woman on whom she then based her onstage persona, […]

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Marketing Appalachia’s handicrafts

The early decorative arts of Appalachia were the hand-pieced quilts, handwoven coverlets, split oak egg baskets, and other “necessary” crafts once common to every remote household. In the Appalachian mountains, art was often the result of need. The nonindustrialized Appalachian people were self-reliant, making do with materials at hand, crafting the cabins they lived in […]

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Language with gumption

When you’re talking with family, are you liable to let down your guard a little and use a bit more Appalachian English and a bit less Standard American English? For example, the Standard American English word might be faucet, but the Appalachian English version would be spigot. If somebody looks sick, we might say, “he’s […]

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The Grandfather of Bluegrass

That would be Wade Mainer, not Bill Monroe. A popular recording and radio personality, Mainer influenced generations of great musicians, including Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley and Doc Watson. With his singing and banjo style, Wade and his band created a distinct sound that bridged the gap between old-time mountain music and bluegrass. Among his innovations […]

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