Music and storytelling are deeply rooted in Appalachian life and cultural identity. Balladry, which marries the two together, is often used to tell moralistic, fanciful, or relatable stories. At times, though, it is used to record actual events. In this paper, I will examine the impact of one such ballad and the story it tells on the descendants of those involved in the events. “Hang Down Your Head, Tom Dooley” has become internationally known and for members of the old families who still live in the Happy Valley area, the story still impacts their relationship to the community at large.
Part of 51-01 Popular Culture and Folklore in the United States, Friday, October 22, 8:30 am–10:00 am