Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
WWFM is listener-supported - it's your contribution that make our musical programming possible. Make your donation today to help keep these programs on the air.

'The Appalachian Ballad Tradition'

With guest host John Harwood.

A Grammy-nominated album celebrates Appalachia’s rich legacy of story songs. We’ll listen to how the ballad resonates today.

This show airs Wednesday at 11 a.m. EST.


Ted Olson, music historian and professor of Appalachian Studies at East Tennessee State University, producer of the album “Big Bend Killing: The Appalachian Ballad Tradition.”

Carol Elizabeth Jones, musician featured on “Big Bend Killing: The Appalachian Ballad Tradition.”

Elizabeth LaPrelle, musician featured on “Big Bend Killing: The Appalachian Ballad Tradition.”


The plaintive, soul-searing ballads of Appalachia represent a tradition older than America itself. Many traveled here from England, Scotland and Ireland with 18th century immigrants, and evolved as they were sung in the hills of Virginia, Kentucky and North Carolina. A new album, from artists dedicated to preserving them, reminds us.

This hour, On Point: the beautiful ballads of Appalachia. —John Harwood

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit