Leslie County

Leslie County might have offered the most diverse pickings for the Lomaxes, who recorded nearly 250 pieces there. The lion’s share were gleaned from the county seat of Hyden, where Alan and Elizabeth met 88-year-old Eliza “Granny” Pace, whose prodigious store of ballads and lyrics had been partially documented by Cecil Sharp and Maud Karpeles some twenty years earlier. (Sharp wrote of Granny Pace that she was “an old lady of 67 who we hear has been a great offender in retailing moonshine and has been sentenced several times. But she has good songs.”) Hyden was also the site for a triumvirate of instrumentalists: banjoists Theophilus G. Hoskins and McKinley Asher and fiddler Boyd Asher. The famously named community of Hell for Certain also contributed myriad material: students at the Lower Hell for Certain School performed game songs and hymns, and members of the extended Begley family sang Old World ballads, local lyrics like “The Moonshiner Song,” and songs of more recent derivation (including two particularly bawdy numbers). The Lomaxes also held a productive session at the home of John Sizemore on Marrowbone Creek, near the settlement of Gardner, where sacred songs and ballads gave way to blues, topical songs learned in the Great War, and banjo tunes with impromptu buck-dancing.