About the Project

Music of our Mountains is an interactive living-document that chronicles the exchange of musical culture and ideas throughout Appalachia and beyond. This project honors the work of existing scholars, musicians and folklorists, while opening gateways for new discussion regarding the rich origins and current context of Appalachian identity. Here, oral histories and conjecture are presented alongside established perspectives.

Our narrative Features coupled with Collections from published works seeks to enrich the current dialogue on Appalachian music & culture; explore the role of race, gender and identity; and provide a platform for multi-view examination of the People, Places, Tunes and Roots that provided the initial pulse from which country music was born.

Community engagement and conversation is welcome! Our story is told through the lens of archival and newly produced original content. The structure of Music of Our Mountains is two fold – a front end presentation that provides multi-media features in parallel with an interactive, map based story containing published essays, historical photographs and recordings, interviews and new contributions. This offers a platform where contemporary musicians, music scholars, regional historians and all thinkers are invited to present multiple, coexisting perspectives – rendering a more complete image of the Appalachian musical and cultural history.

Our initial phase focuses on the Blue Ridge Plateau – Floyd County, Virginia and many of its surrounding counties (Franklin, Grayson, Carroll and Patrick). This first leg of exploration examines the most prominent subjects of the region up through the Great Depression of the 1930’s – highlighting the contributions of Southwestern Virginia artists and ethos to the recording boom that launched the county music industry.

Here, we lay a foundation for deeper-dive content curation in future phases – in which the project will expand to include Folk Revival era and more recent contributions to the greater folk community.

Project Credits

Dylan Locke

Jeff Oehler
Nick Horner
Corbin Hayslett

Celeste Ray

Sue Bibeau

Beehive Productions

Mac Traynham
Andy Buckman
Mills Kelly

Kinney Rorrer
Ted Olson
Marty McGee
Josh Beckworth
Corbin Hayslett
Martha Spencer
Wayne Martin
Joe Wilson

VA Humanities

Virginia Humanities Logo

The Music of Our Mountains project is made possible by the generous support of private donors as well as the Virginia Humanities.

Virginia Humanities connects people and ideas to explore the human experience and inspire cultural engagement. As the state humanities council, Virginia Humanities reaches millions in its estimated annual audience through festivals, grants, fellowships, digital initiatives, teacher institutes, radio programs, podcasts, apprenticeships, and school programs. Headquartered at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia Humanities works to serve Virginians in every corner of the Commonwealth. 

The Music of Our Mountains project is presented as a public service. The principal aim of the program is to address in an objective and nonpartisan context topics of concern and interest to citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The views and opinions expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of The Handmade Music School, Virginia Humanities, its contributors, or its supporting agencies.

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