Archived Arts & Entertainment

Old-time musicians and their descendants sought

A CD containing 34 1930s-era recordings of music performed by Smoky Mountain musicians will be released in October by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Great Smoky Mountains Association, the park’s nonprofit educational organization. In the meantime, Great Smoky Mountains Association is attempting to locate those musicians still alive, most of whom were young men or women in 1939.

These historical recordings were made by linguist and folklorist Joseph S. Hall, who in the 1930s was encouraged by the administrators of the new national park to collect speech, folklore, and music from people who had been or were soon to be relocated to land outside park boundaries. Made in 1939, Hall’s recordings of community musicians are a treasury of the music played and enjoyed in nearby areas.

The wide variety of selections on the CD will include music performed by more than 20 different musicians, including:

• John Hannah, Little Cataloochee community, Haywood County.

• Bessie Rabb, Allens Creek, Haywood County, North Carolina.  

• Cataloochee Trio (Wayne Wright, Slick Wilson, David Proffitt), Cataloochee, Haywood County.

• Bill Moore and Vic Peterson, Waynesville.

• John Davis and Shorty Smith, Cataloochee CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) Camp, Cataloochee community, North Carolina.

• Bill Moore’s Quartet, Waynesville, Haywood County.

• Carl Messer, Cove Creek, Haywood County.

• The Leatherman Brothers, Bryson City.

• Bill Moore, Paul Buchanan, Hardy Crisp, Haywood County.

• Herman Smith and David Proffitt, Cataloochee CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) Camp, Cataloochee.

• Jim Sutton, Cataloochee, Haywood County.

• Helen Gunter, Mt. Sterling, Haywood County.

• Willis and Dexter Bumgarner, Allens Creek, Haywood County.

• Chub Karns, Francis Lum, Cataloochee CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) Camp, Cataloochee.

• Betty Messer, White Oak, Cove Creek, North Carolina.

If you have any of the above-requested information, contact Steve Kemp, Interpretive Products and Services director of Great Smoky Mountains Association, at 865.436.7318 extension 227, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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