Cumberland County

Alan Lomax visited Cumberland County with musicologist George Pullen Jackson for a brief recording session with Effie and Addina Wilson in August 1942. The Wilson cousins lived in the Marrowbone community of Cumberland County near Burkesville in south-central Kentucky, a good many miles west of the eastern mountains where Lomax had concentrated his Kentucky efforts in the 1930s. Lomax made no other recordings in the area and nothing is known about how the cousins had come to his attention. Effie played dulcimer and “dingle bow” while Addina sang. Effie tuned her dulcimer’s six strings in unison and noted it with a heavy goose quill cut off to about six inches. The dulcimer was made by Sanford Harvey of Willow Shade in Metcalfe County, Kentucky, and the dingle bow by Joe Aiken of Cumberland, County, about 1937. It’s unclear whether the bow was held in the mouth like an Ozark mouth-bow or “picking bow” or whether it was held in the lap. Effie Wilson (1903–1986) taught in Cumberland County one-room schools and later taught high school English. She was also an avid community historian.