Yearly Archives: 2010

‘Heave ho, over you go’ – hog butchering day

The scent of locust wood smoke and the sound of crackling fires permeated the early morning scene on hog butchering day. Guided by the predawn glow of a flickering lantern, Daddy lit the kindling wood under the scalding tank. He fed the fire until the water almost reached the boiling point, then built more blazing […]

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The origins of Old Harp singing, part 2 of 2

Liner notes for 1951 Folkways record ‘Old Harp Singing,’ featuring the Old Harp Singers of Eastern Tennessee, by Sidney Robertson Cowell— continued from yesterday… The anthem section frequently includes fuguing tunes (sometimes spelled, and often pronounced, “fudging tunes”). Almost all of these books were printed in one or another of the various systems of shaped-notes, […]

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The origins of Old Harp singing, part 1 of 2

Liner notes for 1951 Folkways record ‘Old Harp Singing,’ featuring the Old Harp Singers of Eastern Tennessee, by Sidney Robertson Cowell— ‘Singers in the Harp’ number many thousands of people through the South and West who sing religious folksongs and fuguing tunes.  They are accustomed to meet on one or two Sunday afternoons a month, […]

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Two new crime thrillers from Appalachia, reviewed

From Los Angeles Times, Nov. 7, 2010: Crimes grow in rich Appalachian soil Sharyn McCrumb’s ‘The Devil Amongst the Lawyers’ and Vicki Lane’s ‘The Day of Small Things’ find a rare mix of thriller elements in a particular region. By Sarah Weinman | Special to the Los Angeles Times Appalachia’s mix of strong religious ties, farming, crop […]

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Howard Finster, master of Paradise Gardens

Howard Finster (ca. 1915-2001) described himself as a Stranger from Another World, a Messenger from God, a Man of Visions, a second Noah, and God’s Last Red Light on Planet Earth. This unlikely candidate for celebrity status on the post-modern art scene became known to millions of people by the end of his life. His […]

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