"That Ain't Old-Time": The Shifting Ambassadorship Of Appalachian Old-Time Music

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
David Henderson Wood (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/
Fred Hay

Abstract: Appalachian old-time music, or acoustic folk music from the southern Appalachians before the mid-1920s, was first disseminated to a national audience during the nascent years of the recording industry. Now, depending on which old-time music festival one attends during the summer, the winning fiddle player could be from Galax, Virginia or New York City. Non-Appalachian musicians who come into old-time from other traditions (e.g. classical, punk, folk, jam bands) are winning first place ribbons, recording highly acclaimed albums, and in some cases, making music videos and touring the country playing a pastiche of old-time and quasi-traditional folk/pop. Some of the more established of these musicians make a full-time living as old-time musicians. They teach workshops, record instructional videos, play concerts, give private lessons, and an even smaller number have the opportunity to play this music abroad. Many of these non-native Appalachian musicians have permanently relocated to the mountains to be around the music, and are now considered to be experts in the nuances of the style. Several of these musicians now teach old-time music to local children here in Boone and throughout the mountains. In Mount Airy, NC, an area that was home to scores of the old-time musicians who were recorded during both the golden age of old-time and the revival years, the de facto hub of old-time music is now a farmhouse owned by two self-described "hippies" from Connecticut and New York. Few scholars or players of the music seem particularly interested in broaching what I think are the most important issues regarding the music's relation to Appalachia: which group is now the tradition bearer of old-time Appalachian folk music - native Appalachians or outsiders, in what form and in what context is this tradition being passed on, and what does this suggest for future trends involving outsiders being responsible for the preservation and dissemination of other aspects of traditional Appalachian culture (i.e. crafts, dance,folktales)? This thesis is an examination of these issues through interviews I conducted and observations I made in Mount Airy, North Carolina and Boone, North Carolina.

Additional Information

Wood, D. (2009). "That Ain't Old-Time": The Shifting Ambassadorship Of Appalachian Old-Time Music. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2009
Appalachia, old-time music, Appalachian studies, music, musicians, acoustic folk music, traditional hymns and ballads

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