Appalachian Women and Traditional Music
Allen, Bob. Blackwell Guide to Recorded Country Music. 1994
Alloy, Evelyn. Working Women's Music: The Songs and Struggles of
Women in the Cotton
Mills, Textile Plants, and Needle Trades.
Somerville, MASS: New England Free Press,
Bekker, Peter O.E. Country. NY: Friedman/Fairfax Publishers, 1993.
This book is a collection of labor songs with historical background information
to place the songs in their correct context. The most pertinent chapter
contains information about the spread of the textile industry into the
South. Over a dozen songs (vocal line only) are provided to represent the
laborers of the region. Other chapters discuss early industrialization,
labor revolts and organizers, and the struggles of black workers.
Blackwell, Lois. The Wings of the Dove: The Story of Gospel Music
in America. Norfolk:
Bufwack, Mary A., Robert K. Oermann. Finding Her Voice: The Saga ofWomen
in Country Music.
Weak overview of the emergence of gospel music in America. Numerous female
singers are discussed.
New York: Crown, 1993.
Bufwack, Lois, and Donald Milton. Songs of Self-Assertion: Women in
Invaluable source on the history of women in country music. This survey
begins with country music's pre-commercial Appalachian roots in the 1800's
and documents through the 1990's. Hundreds of female performers are covered,
both the famous and the more obscure. The extensive bibliography is organized
Somerville, MASS: New England Free Press, 1980.
Burt, Jesse, and Duane Allen. The History of Gospel Music. Nashville:
K&S Press, 1971.
Burton, Thomas G. Some Ballad Folks. Johnson City: ETSU, 1978.
This volume does not specifically address the issue of women in gospel
music, though numerous women of Appalachian extraction are discussed or
interviewed (Dottie Rambo, for example). Of particular interest is the
biographical information provided for major performers and performing families.
Burton, Thomas G. Traditional Tennessee Singers. Knoxville, U ot
TN Press, 1981.
This slim volume contains information on five female ballad singers from
the Beech Mountain [North Carolina] region: Rena Hicks, Buna Hicks, Hattie
Presnell, Lena Harmon, and Bertha Baird. They talk about their life histories
and discuss the ballads they sing. Includes lyrics and photos and cassette.
Campbell, Olive. The Life and Work of John Campbell. Madison,
College Printing & Typing Company.
Cantwell, Robert. Bluegrass Breakdown: The Making of the Old SouthernSound.
650- page biography of the collector, by his research partner and wife,
Olive Campbell. Difficult to wade through, as no index is provided.
New York: Da Capo Press, 1992.
Cantwell, Robert. When We Were Good: The Folk Revival. Cambridge:
Harvard UP, 1996.
A fabulous look at the rich history of bluegrass music. Chapters cover
hillbilly music as a predecessor to bluegrass, the history of southern
song, the complexity of bluegrass rhythms, the relationship between bluegrass
and jazz, the social history of the region from which the idiom emerged,
etc. Bill Monroe's career is discussed at length. Though little attention
is paid to the contributions of female performers, some females are discussed.
Carr, Patrick, ed. The Illustrated History of Country Music. Garden
City: Doubleday, 1979.
A look at the folk revival of the sixties and seventies. The focus of this
book is largely upon male performers such as Pete and Mike Seeger, Bob
Dylan, and the Kingston Trio. However, some mention is made of Appalachian
women performers (like Jean Ritchie, Aunt Molly Jackson, and the Carter
women) and how they fit into the movement.
Carter, Jeanette. Living With Memories. Hiltons, VA: Carter Memorial
Music Center, 1983.
A history of country music with chapters devoted to the beginnings of commercialization,
the rise of Nashville, and modern country, etc. Numerous photographs are
included, as well as a song title index. The Carter Family, Dolly Parton,
Loretta Lynn, and more are discussed, but not in tremendous detail.
Cash, June Carter. Among My Klediments. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan
Pub. House, 1981.
The autobiography of Jeanette Carter, daughter of Sara and A.P. Carter.
Cash, June Carter. From the Heart. New York: Prentice Hall, 1987.
June Carter, daughter of the Carter Family's Maybelle Carter, tells the
story of her life from her early life in the Clinch Mountains of Virginia,
her years as a performer, up to her life as a grandmother. Many topics
are covered including her years at WRVA in Richmond, VA with her mother
and her sisters Anita and Helen, her career at the Grand Ole Opry, her
marriage to Johnny Cash and her subsequent step back from an active performing
career. (Note: Carter-Cash still releases music sporadically, the latest
Cohen, Norm, ed. Minstrels and Tunesmiths: The Commercial Roots of Early
This book consists of a series of vignettes, arranged without regard to
chronological order. They consist of personal stories from Cash's performing
career, her memories of such greats as Elvis Presley and Patsy Cline, her
role as mother and wife, and generally life lessons learned.
John Edwards Memorial Foundation JEMF, 109.
Conway, Cecilia. African Banjo Echoes in Appalachia: A Study of FolkTraditions.
U of T Press, 1995.
Cornfield, Robert, with Marshall Falwell Junior. Just Country: Country
People, Stories, and Music.
A definitive study of the banjo and its place in the American, and especially
African-American, folk tradition. Included are discussions of the banjo's
African birth, the role minstrelry played in popularizing banjo music in
America, construction methods and use, tunings, etc. Though the book focuses
largely on male banjoists, there are some references to female players.
Also notable are the excellent photographs and illustrations. Contains
selected bibliography and song title index.
NY: McGraw-Hill, 1976.
Cousin Emmy. Cousin Emmy's Songbook. n.p.:c, 1945.
Contains section on the Carter Family and their rise to fame. Some excellent
Cuthbert, John A. West Virginia Folk Music. WVUP, 1982.
Dawidoff, Nicholas. In the Country of Country: People and Places in
A listing of archival musical holdings in the state of West Virginia. Many
females included. An excellent resource for the serious researcher.
New York: Pantheon Books, 1997.
Denisoff, R. Serge. Great Day Coming:Folk Music and the American Left.
This book is divided into seven sections devoted to musicians in the various
genres of "country music". Of particular interest is the section entitled
"Deep Country". It includes biographical information about Sara Carter
and patsy Cline, both from Eastern Virginia. Good bibliography.
Urbana: U of ILL Press, 1987.
Dew, Joan. Singers and Sweethearts: The Women of Country Music.
This book discusses the relationship between folk music and leftist movements
in the United States. Chapters discuss the roots of folk awareness in rural
America, the relationship between folk music and the radical right, etc.
Numerous female singers are discussed.
Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1977.
Dorgan, Howard. The Airwaves of Zion: Radio and Religion in Appalachia.
This book contains five chapters- on each devoted to a popular female country
singer. Three hail from the Appalachian region: Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton,
and June Carter. Many excellent and rare photos.
U of T Pr., 1993.
Dowda, Russ. Appalachian Women in the 19th Century and Their Image
in the Murder Ballads of the Time.
Berea, KY: Council of the Southern Mountains, 1978.
The Early Recording Career of Earnest V. "Pop" Stoneman: A Bio-Discography.
The John Edwards Memorial Foundation.
Ellison, Curtis. Country Music Culture: From Hard Times to Heaven.
Jackon: UP of MISS, 1995.
This pamphlet provides a short written account of the life and recording
career of Earnest Stoneman. It also provides a definitive list of the recordings
he made. This source would be of interest to anyone researching Stoneman's
Feintuch, Burt. Kentucky Folkmusic: An Annotated Bibliography. Lexington:
UP of KY, 1985.
This book traces the development of some of the prevalent themes in country
music. Some discussion of how female singers acted as models for female
fans. The songs of Cline, Lynn, and Parton are discussed in relation to
women and traditional roles.
Fleischer, Leonore. Dolly: Here I Come Again. Toronto: Paperjacks,1987.
An Annotated bibliography whose topics include: Collections and Anthologies,
Collectors, Singers Musicians and Other Performers, Text-Centered Studies,
Studies of History Context and Style, Festivals, Dance, Specialized Reference
Tools, etc. Contains many annotations regarding female musicians from Kentucky.
Very useful resource.
Gaillard, Frye. Watermelon Wine: The Spirit of Country Music. NY:
St Martin's Press, 1978.
A look at the meteoric rise of Dolly Parton- her Eastern Tennessee roots,
her start in Nashville (particularly her partnership with Porter Waggoner,
her Hollywood ventures, and her career as a songwriter. Of special interest
is the role that music played in the family life of the Parton's, and also
the ramifications of attempting to "cross-over" into more mainstream styles
while still holding to the image of a mountain girl.
Garland, Jim. Welcome the Traveler Home: Jim Garland's Story of the
A collection of essays about country music. Of particular interest: "Loretta
and the Pill: The Changing Relationships between Men and Women" about Lynn's
controversial song and the change in marital dynamics it describes.
Gaston, Kay Baker. Emma Bell Miles. Signal Mountain,
Ed. Julia S. Ardery. Lexington: UP of KY, 1983.The story
of Jim Garland's life. An extensive autobiography, it includes information
on Aunt Molly Jackson and Sarah Ogan Gunning, his relations.
TN: Walden's Ridge Historical Association, 1985.
Grant, Lee, with the Original Dillards. Everybody on the Truck: The
Story of the Dillards.
This autobiography of Miles, a writer and artist, uses information collected
from her diaries and letters. It follows her life from her birth in Indiana
in 1879, her move to Walden's Ridge TN when she was eleven, her writings
on Appalachia and Appalachian music, to her early death at age 39 from
poverty and tuberculosis. Valuable resource on one of Appalachia's pioneers
in the field of Appalachian study.
Grattan, Virginia L. Women Songwriters: A Biographical Dictionary.
Greenwood Press, 1993.
Green, Archie. "Aunt Molly Jackson: A Bio-Bibliography." Ms. Archie
Southern Folklife Collection, UNC at Chapel Hill.
Green, Archie. Only a Miner: Studies in Recorded Coal-Mining Songs.
Urbana: U of ILL Press, 1972.
Green, Douglas B. Country Roots: The Origins of Country Music. New
York, Hawthorn Books, 1976.
Discussion of songs about the coal-mining industry. Includes some discographies
and an extensive bibliography. Appalachian singers discussed include Aunt
Molly Jackson, Sarah Ogun Gunning, Hedy West, etc.
Hagan, Chet. Grand Ole Opry. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1989.
A history of country music- informative, but not as comprehensive or as
scholarly as some of the other texts available. Topics discussed include
the oral traditions, early commercialism, comedy, bluegrass, gospel, etc.
Many female performers are discussed, such as Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn,
Cousin Emmy, Molly O'Day, and more. The true strength of the book lie in
its excellent use of illustrations, a chronology including Top Five records,
and a representative discography.
Hager, Andrew G. Women of Country. NY: Friedman/Fairfax Publishers,
This book follows the history of the Grand Ole Opry and its most popular
performers from its inception as the WSM Barn Dance in 1925, its years
at the Ryman Auditorium, up through the late eighties. Many female performers
are discussed, including Minnie Pearl, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, etc.
Hill, Fred. Grass Roots: An Illustrated History of Bluegrass and Mountain
A fine (if slim) introduction to women in country music. This hostory spans
from the oral tradition that preceeded the industrialization of music,
up through the early nineties. Topics covered include the barn dance, Western
Swing, Honky Tonk, the Nashville Sound, folk movements, etc. Numerous women
of Appalachian extraction are discussed.
Hull, Kenneth. Lily May- A Legend in out Time. Paris, KY: K.Hull,
Hull, Kenneth. Lily May & The Coon Creek Girls with Pioneer Women
in Country Music.
Slender volume on Lily May Ledford. Provides information on the Coon Creek
Girls and some transcripts of lyrics. This volume will suffice for an overview
on Ledford's career, but there are other more comprehensive resources available.
Mayfield, KY: Kenneth Hull, 1985.
Hurst, Jack. Nashville's Grand Ole Opry. NY: Henry N. Abrams,
Jensen, Jodi. The Nashville Sound: Authenticity, Commercialization,
and Country Music.
A large, pictorial history of the Opry. Excellent source for photographs.
Nashville: The Country Music Foundation Press &
Vanderbilt UP, 1998.
Kahn, Kathy. The Working Girl: Women's Songs from the Mountains, Mines,
An academic look at issues of authenticity that inevitably arise in studying
country music of the 50's and 60's. Much of the book focuses on Patsy Cline
(of Winchester, VA) and the question of whether her music was more "country"
or more "pop". Included are discussions on the problems of romanticization
in folk idioms and the influence of rock 'n' roll.
Karpeles, Maud. Cecil Sharp: His Life and Work. Chicago: U of
Chicago Press, 1967.
Kingsbury, Paul, ed. Country: The Music and the Musicians. Country
Music Foundation, 1988.
A biography of Cecil Sharp, written by Sharp's Literary Executor and friend
Maud Karpeles. Contains information on Sharp's time in the Appalachians
where he collected ballads. Many of the people he gathered songs from were
Kingsbury, Paul. The Country Reader: Twenty-five Years of the Journal
of Country Music.
History of country music published by the CMF in Nashville. Huge number
of photographs, an excellent resource.
Nashville: The Country Music Foundation Press &
Vanderbilt UP, 1996.
Kingsbury, Paul. The Encyclopedia of Country Music: The Ultimate Guide
to the Music.
A collection of articles, essays, and reviews by contributors to the Journal
of Country Music. Of particular interest: "The Legend that Peer Built"
by Charles Wolfe, an essay about the 1927 Bristol sessions- Jimmie Rodgers
and the Carter Family in particular- and "The JCM Gallery", a collection
of photographs that have appeared in the journal. The book concludes with
reviews of books on country music.
NY: Oxford UP, 1998.
Kinscella, Hazel G. Music On the Air. Garden City, NY: Garden City
Encyclopedic entries feature bio with representative recordings for the
artist. Includes ten essays on country music, plus numerous appendices.
Kochman, Marilyn. The Big Book of Bluegrass. NY: William Morrow
& Co., 1984.
Lair, John. Renfro Valley, Then and Now: An Account of the Happenings
This book is exclusively male-focused except for an interview with members
of the McLain Family Band of Berea, KY. Ruth, a daughter in the McLain
family is one interviewed.
"The Valley Where Time Stands Still" From the
Building of the First Cabin on Renfro Creek (1791)
to the Year (1958). no place: no publisher,
Ledford, Lily May. Coon Creek Girl. Berea, KY: College Appalachian
This account begins with the early settlement of James Renfro and depicts
the life of Kentuckians in the region through the nineteenth century and
the first half of the twentieth century. Lair discusses the music he heard
in his childhood, and the singing of old ballads by his grandmother, Matilda
Dulton. The latter portion of this slim book contains information on the
start of the Renfro Valley Barn Dance and some of its early performers,
such as the Coon Creek Girls.
Leverett, Les. Blue Moon of Kentucky: A Journey into the World of Bluegrass
This slim volume is the autobiography of Lily May Ledford, an original
member of the Coon Creek Girls, one of the first all- female bands. The
book documents her childhood in Powell County, Kentucky through her career
at Chicago's WLS, Renfro Valley Barn Dance, etc. up through the late seventies.
As Seen Through the Camera Lens of Photojournalist
Les Leverett. Empire Publishing, 1996.
Lornell, Kip. Introducing American Folk Music. Madison:Brown &
A collection of photographs by Les Leverett, one-time photographer for
the Grand Ole Opry. All photographs are owned by the IBMA museum in Owensboro,
KY. The dates of the photographs range from the early sixties through the
early nineties. Some of the women included are Wilma Lee Cooper, June and
Maybelle Carter, Minnie Pearl, the Lewis and Whites families, Loretta Lynn,
Patsy Cline, and Jean Shepherd.
Lornell, Kip. Virginia Blues, Country, & Gospel Recordings: 1902-43.
An Annotated Discography.
A good textbook on American folk music- Anglo-American, African- American,
and Native American. More attention is payed to historical developments
than to specific performers, but this is still a good, beginner source.
Chapters of interest: Beginnings, Mass Media, Anglo-American Secular Music,
Anglo-American Folk Music, and The Folk Revivals.
Lexington: UK Press, 1989.
Lynn, Loretta, with George Vecsey. Coal Miner's Daughter. Chicago:Regnery,
Provides extensive discographies for Virginia recordings of blues, country,
and gospel. Many Anglo-American Appalachian performers, females included.
Notes on the performers.
Malone, Bill C. Country Music, USA. Austin: UT Press, 1985.
The autobiography of Loretta Lynn's rise to fame, later made into a film
starring Sissey Spacek. Her childhood in Eastern Kentucky is discussed,
as well as her "hillbilly" image in country music. The long career of this
performer has displayed her intriguing contradictions- the traditional
nature of many of her songs such as "Coal Miner's Daughter", and her more
radical side, evident in songs like "The Pill".
Malone, Bill C. Singing Cowboys and Musical Mountaineers: Southern Culture
An indispensable source for the study of country music in the United States.
The term "country music" may be misleading as the topics covered include
folk music before commercialization, early commercialization and hillbilly
music, Western music, bluegrass, and chapters on what is more commonly
considered "country music". Included are excellent bibliographical essays
for each chapter, containing as much pertinent information as the chapters
proper. Also a guide to recordings and an index of song titles.
Roots of Country Music. Athens: U of Georgia
Malone, Bill C. Stars of Country Music. Urbana: U of ILL Press,
This book is comprised of three essays on the development of country music:
"Southern Rural Music in the Nineteenth Century", "Popular Culture and
the Music of the South", and "Mountaineers and Cowboys: Country Music's
Search for Identity". The third essay is of particular interest as it contains
critical examinations of the Carter Family and Jean Ritchie. Chapter notes
provide extensive bibliographical information.
McCloud, Barry. Definitive Country. Perigee/Berkeley, 1995.
The focus of this text is almost exclusively male, except for sections
on both the Carter Family and Loretta Lynn.
Miles, Emma Bell. The Spirit of the Mountains. NY: James Poll
& Co., 1905.
Millard, Bob. The Judds: A Biography.
Book by the poet, artist, and writer Emma Bell Miles, written by the author
when she was in her mid-twenties. It describes Southern mountain life and
culture. Though it did not sell well at the time, this book influenced
a generation of later scholars studying Appalachia. Of particular signifigance
is the eighth chapter "Some Real American Music" which describes the music
of the Appalachians, both instrumental and vocal, and includes transcriptions
for some songs.
Miller, Terry. Folk Music in America: A Reference Guide. New York:
Biography of the Judds. Provides information on Naomi's early marriage
and move out West, her return to Kentucky with her children, their start
in the music industry, and their enormous success. Some photos. Includes
a chapter devoted to the story behind their hits.
Milnes, Gerald. Play of a Fiddle: Traditional Music, Dance, and Folklore
in West Virginia. UP of KY, 1999.
Montell, William Lynwood. Singing the Glory Down: Amateur Gospel Music
in South Central Kentucky
An exploration into West Virginia's rich history of traditional music,
as well as other art forms and social aspects that influenced the growth
of the music. Chapters focus on fiddling, gospel-singing, ballad-singing,
the African-American influence, dulcimer traditions, etc. Wonderful photographs,
bibliography, and selected discography.
1900-1990. Lexington: UP of KY, 1991.
Nash, Alanna. Behind Closed Doors: Talking With the Legends of Country
Music. NY: Knopf, 1988.
A study of white vernacular sacred singing in the nineteen counties which
comprise south central Kentucky. Does not include African-American gospel
singers. Topics covered include shape-note singing, singing conventions,
church-singing, gospel quartets, singing families and more. Many female
musicians, singers, and all-female musical groups are included.Comprehensive
list of amateur gospel groups (past and present) from the region, as well
as a list of current shape-not singing teachers.
Nash, Alanna. Dolly. LA: Reed, 1978.
A book of interviews with country greats. Of particular interest are interviews
with the Judds (26 pages), Loretta Lynn (19 pages), Dolly Parton (22 pages),
and Minnie Pearl (23 pages).
Nassour, Ellis. Patsy Cline: An Intimate Biography. NY: Tower Books,
A substantial biography of Dolly Parton. Includes discography, but no index.
Orgill, Michael. Anchored in Love: The Carter Family Story. Old
Story of the life of Patsy Cline (1932-1964) from her childhood in Winchester,
Virginia to her death in a plane crash in Tennessee. An appendix includes
Cline's recording history and songs recorded by Cline.
Fleming H Revell Co., 1975.
Parton, Dolly. Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business. New
Story of the Carter family, one of the first groups to bring country music
to a broad audience. Beginning with the early lives of the original Carter
Family, their discovery at the 1927 Bristol Sessions, Maybelle Carter's
career with her daughters, through June Carter's marriage to Johnnie Cash.
Some pictures, but no index of recordings.
Harper Collins, 1994.
Parton, Willadeene. In the Shadow of a Song. NY: Bantam, 1985.
Autobiography of Dolly Parton, perhaps the most famous country singer of
all time. Beginning with her rural childhood in East Tennessee, the book
follows her career from her first record at the age of twelve through her
years on the Grand Ole Opry, her numerous partnerships with Porter Waggoner
and Kenny Rogers, and her adult recordings. Of particular interest are
the stories concerining music in her Appalachian family. Numerous photographs
are included, as well as a question and answer chapter.
Price, Steven D. Old as the Hills: The Story of Bluegrass Music.
NY: Viking Press, 1975.
Portrait of the Parton family, by Willadeene, Dolly's older sister. Provides
information on the homelife of the twelve Parton children, the role of
music and religion in their lives, etc. Includes, recipes, songs, verses,
Price, Steven. Take Me Home: The Rise of Country and Western Music.
NY: Praeger Publishers, 1974.
This book is a history of bluegrass, though not as comprehensive as Cantwell's
or Rosenberg's books. Its focus is nearly exclusive male, though mention
is made of a few female performers including the Carter Family, and the
Rice, Wayne. Bluegrass Bios. Available from Bluegrass Specialties,
PO Box 420, Lakeside, CA 92040.
A somewhat simplified look at country music. Topics covered include country's
European and African roots, love songs, work songs, adventure songs, and
songs of home. Many songs are quoted extensively and some attention is
payed to female performers, such as the Carter Family.
Riddle, Almeda. A Singer and Her Song. Baton Rouge: LSUP, 1970.
Reference guide to major bluegrass players. Designed for radio programmers.
Ritchie, Jean. Celebration of Life. Port Washington, NY: Geordie
Music Publishing, 1971.
Autobiography of Almeda Riddle's life: influences of her father and his
songs, as well as other family singers. Musical transcriptions of many
ballads and texts as sung by Granny Riddle.
Ritchie, Jean. Dulcimer People. NY: Oak Publications, 1963.
Ritchie, Jean. A Garland of Mountain Song. NY: Broadcast Music,
Ritchie, Jean. Singing Family of the Cumberlands. Lexington:UP of
A collection of songs with intoductions. Forward by Aln Lomax discusses
the singing Ritchies.
Romalis, Shelley. Pistol Packin' Mama: Aunt Molly Jackson and the Politics
The autobiography of singer-songwriter Jean Ritchie's childhood in Viper,
Kentucky. It offers an intimate portrait of growing up in Appalachia in
the first half of the twentieth century, with many insights into the music
of the region. Discussions of and transcriptions of many ballads are included.
U of ILL Pr, 1998.
Russell, Tony, designer & producer. The Carter Family: Old Time
Music Booklet #1.
Biography of Molly Jackson, a Kentucky folksinger and songwriter, political
activist. The book is divided into three sections: the first discusses
the growth of coal-mining communities in Appalachia; the second covers
the life of Molly Jackson, as well as that of her sister and fellow singer,
Sarah Ogun Gunning; the final section covers music and political resistance
and the role of women in resistence. Excellent bibliography.
Old Time Music, 1973.
Sandberg, Larry, and Dick Weissman. The Folk Music Sourcebook.
NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989.
Scarborough, Dorothy. A Song Catcher in the Southern Mountains.
This resource covers many ethnic groups and locales, but offers valuable
information on Anglo-American folk music. Includes info on recordings of
instrumental music, traditional songs and singers, old-time string bands,
and bluegrass. Includes sections on songbooks, reference books, instructional
Columbia UP, 1937.
Scobey, Lola. Dolly Parton: Daughter of the New South. NY: Zebra/
A collection of ballads and songs collected by Dorothy Scarborough, a collector
and professor at Columbia. The songs were collected in Virginia and North
Carolina. Of particular note are her accounts of collecting songs from
the women of the region. Included are thorough indexes and a discussion
of the use of modality in southern ballads.
Shapiro, Henry D. Appalachia on Our Mind: The Southern Mountains and
Mountaineers in the
A slim biography of Dolly Parton.
American Consciousness, 1870-1920. Chapel
Hill: UNC Press, 1978.
Shelton, Robert. The Country Music Story. NY: Bobbs-Merrill,
Shestack, Melvin. The Country Music Encyclopedia. NY: Thomas Y.
Chronicles the rise of country music. Section on influential performers
includes information on the Carter Family. Though some other women are
listed, marginal information is provided. Excellent photos.
Smith, Betty N. Jane Hicks Gentry: A Singer Among Singers. Lexington:UP
of Kentucky, 1997.
Information on many women singers and songwriters in the alphabetical listing.
There is also an expansive discography.
Smith, Richard D. Bluegrass: an Informal Guide. Chicago Reviews
Biography of Jane Hicks Gentry, of Watauga County NC, the most fruitful
source of ballads collected by Cecil Sharp. Forty of the seventy ballads
Sharp collected from Gentry were published in Sharp's English Folksongs
from the Southern Appalachians. This biography chronicles her life,
her family, and her singing. Included are transcriptions of the songs Sharp
collected and a discography of Maud Gentry Long, daughter of Jane and also
Sorrels, Rosalie, ed. What, Women, and Who. Wooden Shoe, 1974.
Stambler, Irwin, and Grelun Landon. The Encyclopedia of Folk, Country,
and Western Music.
NY: St Martin's, 1984.
Tassin, Myron, and Jerry Henderson. Fifty Years at the Grand Ole Opry.
Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing, 1975.
Encyclopedic listings with one- or two-page bios. Some photos.
Thomas, Jean. Ballad Makin' in the Mountains of Kentucky. New York:
Henry Holt, 1939.
Slim retrospective for the Opry. Not the most comprehensive available.
Thomas, Jean. Devil's Ditties: Being Stories of the Kentucky Mountain
People Told By Jean Thomas
A narrative and collection of folk songs from the Cumberlands, collected
by Jean Thomas, herself from Kentucky. Some tunes collected from females.
With the Songs They Sing. Chicago: W.Wilbur
Tichi, Cecilia. High Lonesome: The American Culture of Country Music.
Chapel Hill:U of North Carolina Press, 1994.
A collection of ballads and songs (with vocal line and chordal accompaniment)
collected by Jean Thomas, a Kentucky collector known as the "traipsin'
woman". The first half of the book consists of chapters discussing how
the songs were used in daily life in the Southern Highlands- at funerals,
parties, courting, singing to children, etc.
Tribe, Ivan. Molly O'Day, Lynn Davis, and the Cumberland Mountain Folks:
This book takes an academic look at the prevalent themes of country music:
the lost childhood home, the road, class struggle, and loneliness. Some
of the female artists discussed include Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Kathy
Chiavola, and Andrea Zonn. Included are a discography of featured songs,
bibliography, and chapter notes, as well as CD featuring Parton, Harris,
Chiavola, Laurie Lewis, and the Tashians.
LA: John Edwards Memorial Foundation, U of California,
Tribe, Ivan. Mountaineer Jamboree: Country Music in West Virginia.
This slim volume includes a biographical sketch of Molly O'Day [Lois LaVerne
Williamson], a singer from Kentucky who deeply influenced country and bluegrass
music. A discography is included.
UP of KY, 1984.
Tribe, Ivan. The Stonemans: An Appalachian Family and the Music that
Shaped Their Lives.
An excellent source on the regional folk idioms of West Virginia. Chapters
cover mountaineer musical heritage, early recording artists, the rise of
radio and later television, the post-war growth of bluegrass, West Virginia
in relation to the national country scene, etc. Many female performers
are mentioned. Excellent bibliography.
Urbana: U of ILL Press, 1993.
Von Matthiessen, Maria. Songs From the Hills: An Intimate Look at Country
Excellent biography of the Stoneman family. Lots of information on the
female members of the family, though the discography includes only the
work of Ernest V. Stoneman.
Warner, Anne. Traditional American Folk Songs: From the Anne and Frank
Excellent book of black and white photographs of Nashville country music
artists. Some women from the Appalachian region are represented.
Syracuse UP, 1984.
Wilgus, D.K. Anglo-American Folksong Scholarship since 1898. New
A collection of lyrics and music for folksongs collected by Anne and Frank
Warner. A portion of the book focuses on Beech Mountain, NC with songs
collected from members of the Hicks family.
: Rutgers UP, 1959.
Wolfe, Charles K. The Grand Ole Opry: The Early Years 1925-1935.
London: Old Time Music, 1975.
Scholarly book on folk music scholarship.
Wolfe, Charles K. Kentucky Country: Folk and Country Music of Kentucky.
UP of Kentucky, 1982.
Zimmerman, Peter Coats. Tennessee Music: Its People and Places.
Miller Freeman Books, 1998.
An in-depth look at the growth of folk idioms and artists in Kentucky,
beginning with the balladeers of the nineteenth century through more recent
artists like Jean Ritchie and Loretta Lynn. Many female artists are discussed
such as the Ledford sisters (The Coon Creek Girls), Cousin Emmy, Molly
O'Day, etc. Selected discography and chapter sources.
Zwisohn, Lawrence J. Loretta Lynn's World of Music. LA: John Edwards
Memorial Foundation, 1980.
This book examines seven genres of music that often entwine with one another
in Tennessee: Old-time, blues and roots, gospel, bluegrass, country, soul,
and new acoustic. The second half of the book (acting as a tour guide)
focuses on the regions of Tennessee from which the genres sprang. Many
female performers of the twentieth century are discussed.
Sing Your Heart Out, Country Boy.
This volume is an annotated listing of Lynn's recording career. It includes
a few short interviews with people she worked with, and a listing of songs
she wrote. An indispensible resource.
This anthology organizes country song lyrics by theme: home, religion.
social commectary, travelling, death, cheating, etc. Numerous songs by
Appalachian women are included such as Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, etc.
Annotated Books | Appalachian Music
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