7. Sources

Books

Berry, Wendell, The Unforeseen Wilderness: An Essay on Kentucky’s Red River Gorge. University Press of Kentucky: 1971.

Bufwack, Mary A. and Oermann, Robert K., Finding Her Voice: Women in Country Music, 1800-2000. Vanderbilt University Press/ Country Music Foundation Press: 2003.

Cantwell, David and Bill Friskics-Warren, Heartaches By the Number: Country Music’s 500 Greatest Singles (esp. BFW’s entry on “Sowing on the Mountain”). Vanderbilt University Press/ Country Music Foundation Press: 2003.

The Encyclopedia of Country Music (ed. Paul Kingsbury). Oxford University Press: 1998.

Goodpaster, Jerrell, Red River Gorge Trail Guide. Lost Bank Productions: 2020.

Harkins, Anthony, Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon. Oxford University Press: 2004.

Henry, Murphy, Pretty Good For a Girl: Women In Bluegrass. University of Illinois Press: 2013.

High, Ellesa Clay, Past Titan Rock: Journeys Into an Appalachian Valley. University Press of Kentucky: 1984. The essential biography of Lily May Ledford. Most details of LML’s early life come from High’s interviews, as do my slight fictionalizations of events for the intro and outro sections. The book is also an excellent then-contemporary (late Seventies) portrait of the Red River Gorge.

Ledford, Lily May, Coon Creek Girl. Berea College Appalachian Center: 1980. [A condensed version of an autobiography that Ledford wrote in the early Seventies, much of which was serialized in three issues of the Seattle Folklore Society Journal, 1977-1978.]

McCloud, Barry, Definitive Country: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Country Music and its Performers. TarcherPerigree: 1995.

McCusker, Christine, Lonesome Girls and Honky Tonk Angels: The Women of Barn Dance Radio. University of Illinois Press: 2008.

Morthland, John, The Best of Country Music. Doubleday: 1984.

Russell, Tony, Country Music Originals: The Legends and the Lost. Oxford University Press: 2007.

Stamper, Pete, It All Happened in Renfro Valley. University Press of Kentucky: 1999.

Williams, Michael Ann, “Home to Renfro Valley,” collected in The Women Of Country Music: A Reader (eds. Charles K. Wolfe and James E. Akenson). University Press of Kentucky: 2003. (“gone to hell generally”)

Wolfe, Charles, Kentucky Country: Folk and Country Music of Kentucky. University Press of Kentucky: 1982.

I’m grateful to David Cantwell for his thoughts and some generous page scans.

Archives/ Articles/ Interviews

Allen, Robert H., “Coon Creek Girls From the Kentucky Hills,” New York Times, 4 June 1939.

Berea College’s Lily May Ledford Collection. If you have further interest in Ledford’s life, and in the Coon Creek Girls, please visit this site, whose resources include multiple recordings of Ledford performing and being interviewed, along with transcripts of interviews, many conducted by Lisa Yarger. (Without High and Yarger, so much of the Coon Creek Girls’ story would have been lost. I’m indebted to their work, and grateful for it.)

Among the interviews used for this essay, whether as quotes or background, were those conducted with: Sue Massek, Jerry Byrd, Cari Norris, Mike Seeger, Alice Gerrard, Glenn Pennington, John Lair and Bascom Lamar Lunsford. The most essential ones are listed further below.

Blankenship, Jessica, “Who Are the Coon Creek Girls?” Kentucky Country Music blog, 21 August 2016.

Doepker, Bob, “Renfro Barn Dance Clicking in Houses,” Billboard, 19 February 1938.

Faurot, Charles, liner notes to Coon Creek Girls (County 712), 1968.

Faurot, Charles, and Dave Freeman, Coon Creek Girls interview [transcript by Lisa Yarger], September 1966.

Green, Nat, “Grosses with Folkshows,” Billboard 1944 yearbook. (10,000 paid admissions etc.)

Hewlett, Jennifer, “Folk, Country Music Pioneer Lily May Ledford Dies,” The Lexington Herald-Leader, 16 July 1985.

Hurst, Jack, “Coon Creek Girls See New Popularity,” Indianapolis News, 25 July 1984.

Indianapolis Star, “Evelyn Perry [obituary],” 13 February 2002.

Matteson Jr., Richard, “Bluegrass Music and Artwork,” a blog from 2008-12 with some excellent CCG essays.

Matz, Kristen, “Fiddlin’ With Bluegrass [Lange profile],” The Louisville Courier-Journal, 9 April 1990.

Mead, Larry, “Coon Creek Girl Grows Up: Lily May Ledford’s Music Elevated to Folk Art,” The Lexington Herald-Leader, 17 February 1983.

St. Louis Dispatch, “Colorful Parade Welcomes British King and Queen to Washington,” 8 June 1939.

Stamper, Pete, “The History of Renfro Valley” (http://www.renfrovalley.com/info/renfrovalley-history.php).

Stand By Archives, 1935-1938.

The Star Press [Muncie, Ind.], “Renfro Valley Barn Dance at Fieldhouse April 24,” 5 April 1938.

Williams, Shirley, “Coon Creek Girl Lily May Ledford, 1917-1985,” The Louisville Courier-Journal, 21 July 1985.

Wolfla, Linda, “Fiddlin’ Calls Back Old Fame,” Journal and Courier (Lafayette, Ind.), 23 June 1983.

Yarger, Lisa, interview transcript with Barbara Greenlief, 27 April 1996. [In Berea’s LML collection and also UNC’s Documenting the American South oral history collection, here.] Writing this piece, it soon became clear that Greenlief’s voice would be a necessary tonic note in this story—it’s all from here.

—. Interview transcripts with Evelyn “Daisy” Lang (sic) Perry, 13 August 1993; 30 May 1994; 4 September 1994. [In the Berea LML Collection.] The vast majority of Lange Perry’s quotes are from these invaluable, unvarnished interviews.