Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Identity and Culture’ Category

Digital Decoration Day

By Niki King

I came across a story NPR reported last year about a Seattle company that is creating scannable codes for burial markers. It said these codes can be placed on tombstones so visitors can learn about their departed, leave messages or record stories about them. A person needs only a smart phone and a free app to access the information.

I listened in rapt attention, imagining the possibilities for such technology at my own family cemetery. At this time of year especially, my mind turns to the dead there and their safe keeping.

Read more

Cabbagetown: A Mountain Village in the heart of Atlanta

By Niki King

The HillVille spent an afternoon roaming the streets of Atlanta’s Cabbagetown, a historically Appalachian community, talking to old-timers and newcomers alike about the mountain ways that have manifested here. What emerged was the story of a people and a place in transition and a musical tradition that will not die.   

Read more

Hollow: Documenting West Virginia

The HillVille unabashedly loves stories, community building and especially innovative ways to use stories to build community. So when we saw Hollow, an interactive documentary about McDowell County, W.Va., on Kickstarter, we were intrigued. We caught up with project founder and ex-App Elaine McMillion earlier this week to get the scoop.

Read more

Behind the Scenes of “Satan Is Real”

by Marianne Worthington

Marianne Worthington, who reviewed the autobiography Satan Is Real: The Ballad of the Louvin Brothers by Charlie Louvin and Benjamin Whitmer for The HillVille, interviewed writer Ben Whitmer about his role in helping Charlie Louvin tell the story of the Louvin Brothers in Satan Is Real. Read more

A review of “Satan is Real: The Ballad of the Louvin Brothers”

by Marianne Worthington

The first distinctive quality about Satan Is Real: The Ballad of the Louvin Brothers, Charlie Louvin’s autobiography  with Benjamin Whitmer, published just months after his death last year, is the physical book itself. Readers who study this volume on an electronic reader will be denied all the corporeal pleasures of holding this cleverly designed book, which resembles a 10-cent pulp fiction classic (jacketless hardback), complete with enticing endorsements and outrageous artwork. In this case the artwork is the same as the Louvin Brothers’ 1958 classic album Satan Is Real (more on that a little later). Read more

Oscar Parsons: City Boy with a Country Sound

By Niki King

In honor of our Roots ‘n Boots music issue, ex-App Oscar Parsons shares his story of how he got to be a fiddler in a bluegrass band in a flat, almost mid-western city miles away from his mountain south home.       Read more

Roots & Boots Radio Redux

Did you miss our appearance on DJ Michael Young‘s radio show “Roots ‘n’ Boots” on WFPK last Sunday?

Fear not, the segment is now posted online for you to hear over and over again. Do we sound like you thought we would? Michael was a gracious host and led us in a great conversation about the similarities between our two platforms and our shared audiences. We also met The Country Gentleman, an icon of bluegrass radio programming, Mr. Berk Bryant who has hosted the program “Sunday Bluegrass” for more than two decades. We stopped short of asking for his autograph (Dude has a pompadour!).

Check out the interview over on WFPK’s Website and  hear why we started The HillVille and what topics and stories we have planned for you!

Also, remember if you live in a desert of good radio, you can stream live both these good fellas’ shows from wfpk.org. “Roots ‘n’ Boots” is on each Sunday from 5-8pm and “Sunday Bluegrass” is on from 8-11pm.

Hillbilly Artifacts: Berea College Documents Stereotypes

by Beth Newberry

Old school Mountain Dew cans. Miniature moonshine jugs. Outhouse-themed ceramics. Are these mass-produced items of hillbilly, pop culture kitsch or valued items in a museum collection? Read more

Chatting with Scholar, Author Emily Satterwhite

By Niki King

We here at The HillVille can’t get enough of Emily Satterwhite’s thought-provoking book Dear Appalachia: Readers, Identity, and Popular Fiction since 1878, in which she examines how readers receive best-selling Appalachian fiction. We recently caught up with Satterwhite for a quick, follow-up conversation about the new release.  Read our review of the book here.

Read more

Making Mountain Music: Sam Shinault is Back Home Proud

Welcome to another installment of our “Back Home Proud” series, a re-occurring feature in which Apps and Ex-Apps tell us, in their own words, what their Appalachian identity means to them. Today we hear from Sam Shinault, a photographer, guitarist and mandolin player for the Two Dollar Bill Band, an old-time, bluegrass and newgrass band in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.     Read more