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Ballads, Stories and Other Tales at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

National Park News

It was a beautiful summer evening with not a cloud in the sky. Only an occasional fish lunging after an insect broke the eerie stillness of the crystal clear lake. With bow in hand, a hunter meandered along the water’s edge looking for prey. Suddenly … along the far shore, the wings of a swan unfurled toward the setting sun. Taking deliberate aim, his arrow soared through the air hitting its mark. The hunter dashed around the water’s edge to retrieve his kill. He abruptly stopped. Horrified … he turned away for he could not bear to look … Polly, his true love lay crumbled on the ground with his arrow embedded in her heart. Ballads, such as “Polly Von,” tell the story of life, tragic love and murder. During the last half century, a resurgence of old ballads has made its way into the world of music. Many songs have regained popularity with a different arrangement while others have retained their original score. This revival has inspired the writing of new ballads relating to modern events. On Saturday August 27, 2005, take a trip into the past as Anne MacFie shares her musical talents and songtales. Anne, from Stanton, Kentucky, has written and produced “Kentucky Songtales,” a series of ballads based on true events out of Kentucky’s past. Listen to the escapades of Jemima Boone and the Callaway sisters in “The Boonesborough Kidnapping.” Learn about one family’s memory the day John Hunt Morgan’s Confederate troops swarmed through the state in “The Boone Furnace Raid.” Discover humorous facts about Appalachian life in the lyrics of “Kettle Underneath The Bed” and “Devil and the Farmer’s Wife.” Listen to a few of the old ballads such as “Barbara Allen.” For the last two decades, Anne has traveled from the heart of Appalachia to the British Isles performing her extraordinary repertoire of English, Scottish and American folk ballads. Her melodic soprano voice and distinct style of finger picking on the guitar and mountain dulcimer captivate young and old alike. Park Ranger Sharon Griffin explains, “The whole family will enjoy Anne’s stories and music.” The National Park Service and Eastern National, a non-profit park partner, will sponsor this free program. The program begins at 8:00 p.m. at the Wilderness Road Campground Amphitheater at the end of loop C located two miles east of Cumberland Gap, Tennessee on Virginia Highway 58. In case of rain, meet at the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park visitor center. For information on this and other ranger programs, contact park staff at 606-248-2817, extension 1075.


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