Appalachian Music Fellowship 4

Berea College Appalachian Music Fellowship

Day 4, June 4, 2009

The very public narrative that Lily May Ledford told about herself hardly ever changed. She consistently told the same story about her life and career to interviewers. I’ve read it plenty since working in the archives. But the personal narrative that her friends and family tell is, as they say, a whole ‘nother story. Today I read interviews with Lily May’s daughter, granddaughter, an ex-husband, a brother-in-law, two musician friends, Mike Seeger, and Pete Seeger.

Pete Seeger tells of Lily May telling him that after the Coon Creek Girls’ White House appearance in 1939, Lily May passed around her banjo for guests and dignitaries to sign. She was insulted to get it back full of coins, like she was a street musician begging for money, I suppose.

Published by Marianne Worthington

Marianne Worthington is a poet, editor, and co-founder of Still: The Journal, an online literary magazine publishing writers, artists, and musicians with ties to the Appalachian region since 2009. She received the Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council and the Appalachian Book of the Year Award for her poetry chapbook, Larger Bodies Than Mine. She was awarded grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and the Appalachian Sound Archives Fellowship at Berea College. She co-edited, with Silas House, Piano in a Sycamore: Writing Lessons from the Appalachian Writers’ Workshop, a writing craft anthology from teachers at the Appalachian Writers’ Workshop from the last 40 years. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Oxford American, CALYX, Grist, Shenandoah, The Louisville Review, Appalachian Review, Cheap Pop, and Chapter 16, among other places. She lives in Williamsburg, Kentucky, and teaches communication studies, media writing, and journalism at University of the Cumberlands. Her poetry collection, The Girl Singer, is available from University Press of Kentucky, 2021.

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