Search our site
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

Mountains of Music West Virginia Traditional Music from Goldenseal by John Lilly

Mountains of Music West Virginia Traditional Music from Goldenseal

Part of the Music in American Life Series


Mountains of Music West Virginia Traditional Music from Goldenseal by John Lilly

From fiddle tunes to folk ballads, from banjos to blues, traditional music thrives in the remote mountains and hollers of West Virginia. For a quarter century, Goldenseal magazine has given its readers intimate access to the lives and music of folk artists from across this pivotal state. Now the best of Goldenseal is gathered for the first time in this richly illustrated volume. Some of the country's finest folklorists take us through the backwoods and into the homes of such artists as fiddlers Clark Kessinger and U.S. Senator Robert Byrd, recording stars Lynn Davis and Molly O'Day, dulcimer master Russell Fluharty, National Heritage Fellowship recipient Melvin Wine, bluesman Nat Reese, and banjoist Sylvia O'Brien. The most complete survey to date of the vibrant strands of this music and its colorful practitioners, Mountains of Music delineates a unique culture where music and music making are part of an ancient and treasured heritage. The sly humor, strong faith, clear regional identity, and musical convictions of these performers draw the reader into families and communities bound by music from one generation to another. For devotees as well as newcomers to this infectiously joyous and heartfelt music, Mountains of Music captures the strength of tradition and the spontaneous power of living artistry.


A collection of profiles on some of West Virginia's premier traditional musicians... the twenty-five pieces are culled from twenty-five years - 100 issues - of Goldenseal... These are not brief bio capsules, but long, well- written pieces that take the time and care to delve into the history of the musicians as well as painting portraits of unique personalities and a way of life that is all but history... Throughout the book are fine portraits and photographs. - Michael Lipton, Graffiti Entertainment Guide An important and entertaining new book. - Dave Peyton, Huntington Herald- Dispatch A fine book about music and much more, and an enjoyable read... The writers are many and varied... Without fail, they have a love and respect for the music and the musicians, and each brings a particular interest and point of view to the writing... Wonderful photographs throughout. -- Candie Carawan, Appalachian Journal From heavenly harmony to devilish fiddling, West Virginia's folk music is a treasure ... For the past 25 years, the story of West Virginia's traditional life has been deftly told in the pages of Goldenseal magazine. Now, the best of Goldenseal is gathered for the first time in [this] richly illustrated volume. - Williamson Daily News A wonderful compilation of articles on musicians taken from West Virginia's premier quarterly publication, Goldenseal, which focuses on traditional life and culture... Lilly has done a wonderful job selecting a core sample of music and musicians. - Sunday Gazette Mail With many nice photos, this is a really nice work that will provide much wonderful reading for anyone interested in the music of one of the most fascinating states of our union. - County Sales Newsletter Thanks to the efforts of Goldenseal editor, John Lilly, a musician himself, we are able to read, learn and ... remember folks who have touched many lives... This book is one of those reads that brings back memories, reminds us that beyond the music is a person who is just making it in the world like anyone else. This book is the living definition of folk music. - Bluegrass Unlimited A goldmine or facts and stories that discloses the musical soul of this important traditional American region... The most complete survey so far of West Virginia music, its practitioners, and its musical culture. -- Journal of American Folklore Documents the West Virginia tradition of mountain music by giving us a picture of life and music in that state as seen through the eyes (and ears) of a selection of its traditional musicians, some professionals and some not... Although each article is valuable by itself, this book is greater than the sum of its parts. Taken together, the recollections of these mostly older artists gives a vivid and colorful picture of rural life and culture now largely gone... A well-written look at different facets of one of our richest musical traditions... A worthy addition to this excellent series. - A.V. Shirk, The Old-Time Herald The level of writing is extremely high throughout, and the accounts of country living make fascinating reading. Well-known figures like the Lilly Brothers and Molly O'Day come to life, but so do many others who never recorded and rarely traveled from the Mountain State. Goldenseal's concern with West Virginia folk life ... makes the articles much more vivid than interviews one would normally find in music magazines. -- Duck Baker, Dirty Linen Part social history, part memoir, and always a delight to read, the book takes on a journey through a traditional culture on the cusp of dramatic change. -- Institute of Island Studies Bulletin

About the Author

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

1st November 1999


John Lilly

More books by John Lilly
Author 'Like for Like'


University of Illinois Press


248 pages


Folk & traditional music



Lovereading is a world of books. It has everything you need from new to old and much loved classic books. It even give you recommendations!

Kate Thurston

If you love reading, then you'll love Lovereading! Full of tips & info for every discerning reader.

Lynne Rapson

I love reading books I wouldn't normally choose before everyone else gets to read them!

Dawn Lynch

Their sending me my first book to review 18 months ago re-awakened my fondness for reading, since then I have purchased some real gems.

Barry Griffiths

It has enriched my leisure time by introducing me to a world of books which I would not have previously considered.

Val Rowe

It's the first site that I visit when deciding on the next set of books to buy. A particular treat is being able to download an extract.

Tessa Olson

I love Lovereading because I get to read great books and then get to tell everybody how good they are.

Sally Doel

You can trust Lovereading to show unbiased reviews by actual, ordinary readers that help likeminded booklovers choose their next great read.

Linda Hill