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Music in Appalachia

Ibanez Guitar Giveaway 
Last Summer, Paul found a steal of a deal on a used guitar-an Ibanez Classical. Even better he offered it to me-well actually he offered it to you. He said I could give it away on the Blind Pig-he's nice like that-but mostly he's appreciative of the support given to his music by Blind Pig readers. From the comments-to the cds sold-none of us can believe the positive response you've given to our music.

Once he bought the guitar, I began dreaming and scheming about a Spotlight on Music in Appalachia. I soon realized-the scope and breadth of the subject is impossible to fully understand, comprehend or most certainly to contain in a series of posts on a blog.

A blue million questions soon followed: Where would I start? Where would I end? Should I focus on one type of music-the world famous ballads still sung here today-bluegrass-oldtime-gospel? Should I go through each instrument that's traditionally played? Should I try to get big companies like Gibson or Eastman to sponsor me? (I did-they ignored me)

Just as I was about to give up on narrowing the scope of the spotlight into something manageable-I realized I kept returning to one central point: It matters not if you're talking about old-time string bands, the simple sounds of a mountain dulcimer, haunting spirituals sung at alter calls, hot licks from the latest progressive bluegrass band, or the Blind Pig gang pickin' and grinnin' every Sunday afternoon in Paul's kitchen-what does matter-music is an integral part of life in Appalachia and it has been since the beginning.

So I finally accepted-the Spotlight on Music in Appalachia will take us where it will-and that'll be just fine. Along the way-we'll have:

  • interviews highlighting the efforts being made today to ensure the music of Appalachia continues to thrive
  • interviews with performers
  • guest posts
  • giveaways-including the Ibanez Classical Guitar
  • and whatever else the winds of music in Appalachia turn up for us along the way

Stay tuned for the next installment-and the details on the guitar giveaway.


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The first time I listened to the song east Virginia blues stopped me in my tracks. It was performed by Dave Alvin. If you get a chance it is on his public domain album. Tithe. Same song with do-wapbackup vocals on the chorus.needless to say, It is my favorite tune. Please sign me up. I do not own a guitar but if I won this one, east virginiawould be its name and it would be the first song, I'd ever learn

Nice stuff you have here. I love guitars, that brought me here. Think I'll be back again!

i just lost my martin d18 from 1971, i need a new gutar, i'm dying..

Hello. The guitar giveaway brought me here but I got to lookin' around and I like your site. At first I thought that it was a site for a small appalachian music festival. Have you ever thought about starting a festival? I see you have several followers on your site that might like to come. It could be the next big thing in your area. I'm from Georgia and I enjoy going to folk events sometimes. I went to the Hemlock Festival in Dahlonega, GA and was surprised at the turn out. It was packed! Festivals like that are popular around the U.S. Just something to think about. I have a degree in audio engineering and could run sound.

Music has been an important of my family since way back when. One of the reasons I love Blind Pig & the Acorn is the memories it brings back of my own family growing up...many a night of bringing out the guitars, banjo's, mandolins and everyone singing whatever came to mind.

I brought this tradition to my own little family...we still do this when we're all at home. I'd love to enter the guitar contest! I don't play but my both my boys do and would enjoy this guitar!

More than anything.....thank you for this site which brins back many special memories for many of us. The singing, articles, recipes bring us "back home"...many thanks again Tipper!
Thanksgiving blessings to you & yours,

I had just left you a post for another chance to win the guitar and used my middle name 'Jay'. I just wanted to let you know that all my other posts were with my first name Earl. Didn't know if that made a difference or not? At any rate, I mentioned that "Riding Number 9" is one of my favorite old train songs. I also wanted to let you know that I share all these on my Facebook page, and wasn't sure if any additional entries were still being awarded for doing that. (Can you tell, I'd really like to win that guitar?)lol Thanks again..... I used my first name 'Earl' on this by the way.

Hey, leavin you a post for an additional entry into the guiar giveaway. You asked for my favorite old train song? Well I'd have to say it would be one that Johnny Cash did called "Ridin Number 9" I hope to have the opportunity to pick it on this Ibanez one day soon! LOL Thanks for the great site!

Mountain music is, to me, the music of the soul. It speaks to the depth of me in good times or bad. Our son hasn't played his guitar since serving in Iraq. Maybe a new one would inspire him.

I just love singin' in the kitchen! I love listenin' to ya'll doing it. My son and I jam together, not in the kitchen...I'm fortunate enough to have a music room. Love it! Would love to add that guitar to my collection.

I love to visit this site, and leave the music playing while I do my online errands. I have just graduated college here in baton rouge, and plan to make some road trips up to that part of the country. I lived in fayetteville ark. as a child, and I miss the change of seasons, and snow. The summers here in baton rouge are just brutal. If anyone has some suggestions for good road trips, I would love to hear them. I am 51, and love bluegrass and mountain music.

A great book suggestion for anyone who is interested is called "Claptons Guitar" by Allen St. Pierre. I know it doesn't sound very Appalachian, but I thing you'll be pleasantly surprised. It's about a guy in rural SW Virginia, Wayne Henderson, who built a guitar for Eric Clapton and the whole story is steeped in Appalachia. Thank you for this site, I am actually posting this message for a chance to win the guitar, but maybe somebody will be blessed with the book as well.

I love this music!!!

How exciting! I'm still plundering around your site. There's so much to see and hear!

East Virginia Blues has always been a hauntingly beautiful song to me. "I'd rather be in some dark holler, where the sun don't never shine." Sweet. Used to be a pretty fair flat picker back in the day and sure do miss pickin' and grinnin on the porch. Great blog and pleased to meet you. As ever be well. Stephen Craig Rowe

You know - in the Sweetie novel coming up that's set in this area (and in a novella I wrote set in this area), my characters sang old mountain songs - but I had to be SO careful about lyrics - that's why I usually don't do lyrics in my work - all those copyright rules...

But, while I was researching around our Appalachian old mountain music, I saw where, as you said, some songs were sang so very long ago, then someone else would sing it but alter it and down on down on down on it would go - so as long as the music was before a certain time, I could use a bit of it - and I did - mostly in the novella, but in sweetie to a lessor extent just because i was so afaid of copyright laws . . . too bad, because there is such a rich rich wonderful world of music in these mountains and I'd loved to have shared it more - I love this post and this idea . . . I need to come back and explore it more and help and link and et cetera!

I can see my brothers and my dad, and maybe even my son, eyeballin' that gee-tar .... *laughing* - out of us kids, only me and my youngest brother don't play guitar...

I have always love the tune of classical appalachian music! it really takes me back

i love this kind of music! it soothes the soul and erases all the stress of the day!! beautiful!

I love the music on this site. I actually came on here just now to listen to the songs. (:

I love the song Foggy Mountain Breakdown by Flatt and Scruggs (: Best song ever!

I love old time music!!!!!!! Listening to your songs really peps up my day. Would love to win the guitar!!
Antique Rose

Yours was one of the first blogs I ever followed and although I don't check as often as I used to, I enjoy it immensely when I play 'catch up'! My son loves to buy and learn how to play new instruments, so if I was to win that great guitar, that's who would play it! I would fiddle around on it, but I'm not too talented in the guitar-playing department. Thanks for the great blog and for sharing some great music and history...

Great Music!

Our family would luv to win this special guitar :)

I wrote you, Tipper, before, about my husband playing.I'm entering this as a surprise to get my husband to play again.It's only been almost 30 years! HE's just gotta play for his grandkids before it's too late to be able.When I hear this music it reminds me of my mother-in-law singing and their band playing for church.Thanks-Sharon and grandaughter Mariah

Fantastic! I promise to play it on stage if I win!

awesome stuff at this site!

Oh my I know I missed this one but it would be a dream to win. My daughter writes songs and It would be the best gift ever to give her..I don't comment but always read. I am an avide reader and love all but I also try new canning and cooking on here ..Please keep it comming I don't watch T.V. that much . I am old fashion..mountain lady...God Bless You.

I wish I had someone to pick and grin with in the kitchen. Would love that old guitar, too.

I love bluegrass music. It really is the best type of music around. Im a teenager and most people my age don't even know what bluegrass is, which is sad. Their missing out on the best type of music in existence.

What a fantastic sounding guitar. I grew up on bluegrass and applachian music. I learned to play guitar from a little book my dad gave me. "Learn to Play Guitar in 5 minutes" lol I had to sit in the middle of the bed and prop the guitar up with pillows in order to hold on to it at about 8 years old. I learned 3 chords first but it took a little longer than 5 minutes. I would absolutely love to win this Guitar, though its called a classical, it has a real blue grass sound. Mellow.

East Virginia was the first tune that I ever learned to play. My sister helped me figure out the chords and provided my first guitar as well. Her name was Trina Parsons, but she changed it a few times -- to Sahli, then Milefsky, then Burgess, then Hannah. She was a self-taught banjo and fiddle player -- won a lot of ribbons at festivals in her time. We lost Trina to suicide in 2001, but her impact on my life has never lessened, and I have a special place in my heart for that tune.

I love a good folk or bluegrass sound. My husband plays the blues,he is good too.His name is Daddy Rich check him out sometime at his website.I love good music,yes I do.

Hi Tipper:

Paul Penland here and enjoying all that you offer us each addition, thank you. Every time I hear an old tune I know it,s the music I grew up with and seems to be in my blood. As I have been away from Weaverville for so long now I realize its the music and people like you that I miss the most

How wonderful! This is just like you and your family, Tipper! Your generosity and soul spill over to every aspect of your readers' lives, esp. the music!
I love to pick up the guitar and strum anything when I need to get away from all the responsibilities.

Would love to highlight Moody Bluegrass. The Moody Blues' music is interpreted by bluegrass musicians. Info can be gotten at

Blessings to Blind Pig and The Acorn! :))

Would love to win this guitar for my hubby!

I found this blog through another blogger friend of mine, LOVE THE MUSIC!!! What an awesome prize give away!! My son just started guitar lessons!!

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