Lily May Ledford: Lily May Ledford came from a large family in the Red River Gorge, and
they raised what they could eat. “Mama believed in work and plenty of it as
a cure-all for everything.” She used the precious little bit of free time she could muster to learn how to play the banjo. Ledford was one of the original the Coon Creek Girls in Chicago the band became wildly popular among radio listeners for over twenty years.
The Coon Creek Girls were one of the first all-female string bands, and they played ballads and religious songs in a fiery, foot-stomping style usually reserved for men. Despite stereotypes used to promote the Coon Creek Girls—stereotypes about women and about the people of the Appalachian region—they achieved a wide audience and Lily May Ledford remains a respected musician, known for her claw-hammered style of playing the banjo.
Many years later, Lily May Ledford took up entertaining again, and she left a legacy that her granddaughter enjoys today. Cari Anna Norris has established her own reputation as a musician to be reckoned with.
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