Headshot of a woman.

Photo by Garius Hill

Sheila Kay Adams

Ballad Singer, Musician, & Storyteller

Bio

A seventh-generation ballad singer, storyteller, and musician, Sheila Kay Adams was born and raised in the Sodom Laurel community of Madison County, North Carolina, an area renowned for its unbroken tradition of unaccompanied ballad singing that dates back to the early Scots/Irish and English settlers in the mid-17th century. Adams learned to sing from her great-aunt Dellie Chandler Norton and other notable singers in the community, such as Dillard Chandler and the Wallin family (including NEA National Heritage Fellow Doug Wallin). In addition to ballad singing, Adams is an accomplished clawhammer-style banjo player and storyteller. Adams began performing in public in her teens, and throughout her career she has performed at festivals, events, music camps, and workshops around the region country and the United Kingdom, including the acclaimed International Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, and the 1976 and 2003 Smithsonian Folklife Festival as part of The Bicentennial Celebration and Appalachia: Heritage and Harmony.

Adams is the author of two books: Come Go Home With Me, a collection of stories published by the University of North Carolina Press and a 1997 winner of the North Carolina Historical Society's award for historical fiction; and My Old True Love, a novel published by Algonquin Books in 2004. She has recorded several albums of ballads, songs and stories including My Dearest Dear (2000), All the Other Fine Things (2004), and Live at the International Stroytelling Festival (2007). Adams appeared in the movies Last of the Mohicans (1992) and Songcatcher (2000), a movie for which she also served as technical advisor and singing coach.

Adams' devotion to preserving and perpetuating her heritage earned her the North Carolina Folklore Society's Brown-Hudson Award in recognition of her valuable contributions to the study of North Carolina folklore. In a letter in support of her nomination, George Holt, director of performing arts and film studies at the North Carolina Museum of Art wrote, "Sheila Kay Adams is the key figure in carrying forward to this day the tradition of unaccompanied ballad singing that has enriched her community for more than two centuries, promoting its beauty throughout our country and beyond, and insuring that it will be perpetuated by younger generations of singers well into the 21st century."

[Excerpts of "I'm Going Back to North Carolina" from Live at the International Storytelling Festival and "Little Margaret" from All the Other Fine Things, used courtesy of Sheila Kay Adams and Granny Dell Records.]

Podcasts

Sheila Kay Adams

Jo Reed:  That is 2013 National Heritage Award recipient, Sheila Kay Adams singing "Young Hunting."

Welcome to Art Works, the program that goes behind the scenes with some of the nation's great artists to explore how art works. I'm your host, Josephine Reed.

Sheila Kay Adams is a seventh-generation ballad singer, musician, and storyteller. She was born and raised in Madison County, North Carolina, in a little place named Sodom. It's an area well-known for it’s a cappella ballad singing, a tradition that dates back to the early Scots/Irish and English settlers of the mid-17th century. Singing and playing the banjo has always been a central part of Sheila's life. She learned the traditional way of singing primarily from her great-aunt Dellie Chandler Norton; although other notable singers in the community such as Dillard Chandler and Lee Wallin were also eager to share their songs with her. Sheila began performing publically in her teens, and hasn't really stopped since. In the intervening years, she has performed at festivals, concerts, music camps, and workshops around the country and throughout the United Kingdom where many of the ballads were first sung. Somewhere along the line, she also started telling stories about all the characters that lived in and around Sodom and she found herself in demand for her storytelling as much as her singing and playing. After it was announced that she was awarded a 2013 National Heritage Fellowship, I visited her at her home in Madison County, where we settled down on her front porch to talk. In this, the first of a two-part interview, we focus on her music and its deep roots in the community of Sodom, North Carolina, but first, I had know how that area got its name.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Well, I know several stories how it got its name but if you're a storyteller what you do is you pick the best story out of all the stuff that you've heard, and so the best story I heard was back during the Civil War we were so divided in this part of the world; most of my family were in the Union army, they went over in to east Tennessee and joined the Union army, and then there was a Confederate training camp for young cadets in Hot Springs, North Carolina, which is also in Madison County. And in between the Confederates and the Union there was a troop of ladies of the evening that didn't have real loyalty to either side and so they sort of went back and forth and it just happened to be that they would meet up a lot in this little place that I grew up in. And there was a circuit-riding Baptist preacher that came through they had a brush arbor revival and from the pulpit he said, "This place-- there's more sinning goes on here than in Sodom in the Bible." And so of course the war ended and the troops moved on and the ladies of the evening found somewhere else to go and the name of Sodom though stuck.

Jo Reed:  As far as I can tell, it was populated pretty much by five or six different families?

Sheila Kay Adams:  That's right.

Jo Reed:  So you were pretty much related to everybody.

Sheila Kay Adams:  I was, by blood, marriage and usually both just because that's the way of a small mountain community. For instance, my parents were double-third cousins but it makes this ancestry-- doing your family chart as far as-- makes it really easy when you come from a place like Madison County because it just goes up like a telephone pole or else it's a family wreath. It's not a tree; it's a wreath. It just goes right around and around; it's all the same people.

Jo Reed:  It was known for a couple of things, it held on to traditional music, the way music was done in Sodom, especially ballad singing. It's a direct root back to England….

Sheila Kay Adams:  Right.

Jo Reed:  …where it had begun.

Sheila Kay Adams:  It was-- as a matter of fact, due to this oral history that's passed down in my family I know where my people came out of the northern part of England and the southern part of Scotland, the border country of Scotland and England; they came out of Whitehall. And that style of singing you hear in the border country today, which is right on the border of northern England and southern Scotland, and you also hear it in northern Ireland that's real similar to the way I heard it growing up; the songs are really similar. The ones that I sing talk about Scotland, "For I've got a wife in the old Scotland and this night she waits for me." My family got here in 1731 in Madison County what's now Madison County and so think about all the years that they have been keeping this tradition of singing these songs a lot to the point where there are still songs that talk about the Clyde River in Scotland and "I've got a wife in Scotland and tonight she waits for me," what, 300 years down the road, 400 years down the road?

Jo Reed:  It actually is closer to the original than those same songs sung—

Sheila Kay Adams:  Right.

Jo Reed:  --in England.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Right. That's what Cecil Sharp, who was a collector that came through here in the teens, said. He was from England and he said that he found purer versions of the English and Scottish folk songs in the southern Appalachians than he found in modern day England, which would have been during the teens as well and Scotland.

Barbary Allen up and hot

Jo Reed:  Why do you think that music had such deep roots in your community?

Sheila Kay Adams:  Well, mountain people don't like change for one thing and the other thing is that they stay in the same place. It's just like the woman that I refer to as Granny. Granny lived, was married, raised her children, buried all of them but one, buried her husband, and then died and was buried herself within a five-mile radius, and that's true of all of the singers that I learned from. They lived in one place, they stayed right there in Sodom, and I think as a result of that because all of them were related by blood, marriage or both, and usually both, it stayed within a community as opposed to just one family because that's what you found in a lot of other areas was that there would be one family that was keeping the tradition alive but here we had an extended family but that amounted to the whole community that kept these, singing of the old songs a capella tradition alive.

Jo Reed:  And that is how it's done.

Sheila Kay Adams:  It is.

Jo Reed: Without music.

Sheila Kay Adams: Without music.

Jo Reed:  And the woman you refer to as Granny is Dellie Norton.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Yeah, that's Dellie Chandler Norton and her sister's name was Berzilla Chandler Wallin so they just kept marrying back into the same families, but Granny had the most unique voice other than Dillard Chandler that I heard singing over there.

Jo Reed:  You said that she would sing Young Emily for example, a beautiful, beautiful song, and she would always sing that when she was milking the cows.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Milking the cows.

Jo Reed:  What was your job while she was milking the cows?

Sheila Kay Adams:  Holding the tail 'cause Daddy called me his active child and so I had to be kept busy and I had to hold the tail so it wouldn't come around in the springtime, summer and fall and swat Granny in the side of the head because she would always lean her head against the cow's side while she was milking, and of course the cow would if I wasn't holding the tail would come around and smack her in the face with it so I got to hold the tail while she sat there and milked and sang.

Jo Reed:  She always sang that song.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Always sang Young Emily, yep.

Jo Reed:  Do you think you could sing a little bit for me?

 

Sheila Kay Adams: (singing)

Young Emily was a fair maid. She loved a driver boy. He drove in the main for some gold to gain way down in the lowlands, low.

My father runs a public house all on yonder shore. Go ye, go ye and enter in and there abide thee this night.

Jo Reed:  It's such a beautiful song.

Sheila Kay Adams:  It really is.

Jo Reed:  And I'm sure when you hear that or when you sing that you have a very different image in mind than I have as I'm listening to it because you have this entire history that comes with it.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Do you know the funny thing is that when I sing "Young Emily" it's like I am transported back in time to that little girl that held on to the tail of that cow and I can smell warm milk in my mind, in my mind's nose I guess is what you'd say, because it takes me back to especially in the early spring and the late fall when Granny was milking the steam would rise up out of that bucket and I can still smell that smell whenever I sing that song.

Jo Reed: That's a wonderful image.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Yeah.

Jo Reed:  And you learned to sing from her.

Sheila Kay Adams:  I learned to sing from her and as a result of learning these old love songs I also got to learn from Cas Wallin and her sister, Berzilla, and Dillard Chandler and Lee Wallin, Berzilla's husband, Inez Chandler. There were so many of them that were singing over there at that time that once I kind of started learning these songs when I was five they all wanted me to learn their songs; they called them their songs but it was just the ones that they kind of showcased themselves.

Jo Reed:  How did you learn?

Sheila Kay Adams:  I learned in what Granny called was the old-style "knee-to-knee" where I sat across from whoever was singing with our knees almost touching and I would close my eyes, because some of these songs have got a lot of verses to them--and I would close my eyes and they would sing a verse and I would sing it back to them and then they would sing the second verse and I would have to sing the first and second back to them. So by the end of the song even if it was one with 40 verses to it I would have caught the song by the time it was over 'cause I would have repeated it, however many verses were in the song.

Jo Reed:  We talked a little bit about what was unique about the ballad singing that came out of Sodom and it's a cappella; it's done without music. What else?

Sheila Kay Adams:  They did a lot of what Cecil Sharp called ornamentation and that was the collector that came through in the teens, and he even says in his introduction that he could write the tune, he could write the note down that they were singing, but there was no way that he could provide the embellishment and that really the embellishment that the singer gave to each song. And he said that the only way that one could acquire that would be to listen to somebody who had learned in that tradition because he said it was foreign to anything he had ever heard anywhere.

Jo Reed:  Were you always taken by that music, Sheila?

Sheila Kay Adams:  Oh, I loved it, I've loved it as far as I can remember. That style of singing always just caught my heart and so many of those songs were actually stories that had these great plots to them, great stories, and I was always a sucker for a story whether it was told or sung and so the fact that they were stories and those tunes were so plaintive and they always sang with such emotion that it was hard not to pay attention to what they were singing.

Jo Reed:  It's interesting because the songs are so plaintive and the stories tend to be funnier than the songs. Do you think that's accurate?

Sheila Kay Adams:  That's absolutely accurate because there were-- well, okay-- the songs that Granny and her sister sang and that Cas sang were the longer ballads, the love-- they called them all love songs but they were really traditional ballads from Scotland and England and northern Ireland mainly. And so when I finally heard Inez Chandler sing she asked me to come down to her house one day and she sang some of the dirtiest songs I have ever heard in my life. Now this was a woman who was in her late sixties, early seventies that sang one raucous, off-color song after another so there were those songs that were in the tradition but it's just that not everybody sang them, and Inez would have never sung them out in public. She taught me a song called The Seven Nights Drunk that I can only sing four verses to so it's really The Four Nights Drunk.

Jo Reed:  Do you want to give me--

Sheila Kay Adams:  Oh, I will be glad to.

Jo Reed:  Oh, please.

Sheila Kay Adams:  <sings> I come home the other night as drunk as I could be and I saw a horse a-standin' in the stable where my horse ought to be, said, "Come here, little wifey. Explain this thing to me. Whose horse is that a-standin' in the stable where my horse ought to be?"

You blind fool, you drunk old fool, now can't you plainly see that's only a milk cow your granny sent to me.

Well, I've traveled this whole world over a hundred times or more but a saddle on a milk cow's back I never did see before.

 

I come home the other night as drunk as I could be and I saw a hat a-hangin' on the rack where my hat ought to be, said, "Come here, little wifey. Explain this thing to me. Whose hat is that a-hangin' on the rack where my hat ought to be?"

You blind fool, you drunk old fool, can't you plainly see, well, that's only a dishrag your granny sent to me. Well, I've traveled this whole world over a hundred times or more but a J.B. Stetson dishrag I never did see before.

And so it keeps going that way and the third verse is a pair of britches on the floor and she tells him it's a flour sack and the fourth verse is a head on the pillow and that's all I can sing in public.

Jo Reed:  And you just let it rest there.

Sheila Kay Adams: I and usually I will tell whatever audience is listening that they'll just have to use their imagination on the last three verses because there's no way you can sing them in public and she had over a hundred of those songs. So there were the plaintive kind of love songs but then there were the raucous Seven Nights Drunk songs as well.

Jo Reed:  Those were more inside songs.

Sheila Kay Adams:  They were definitely inside songs but you know those are the ones that are in the danger of-- in danger of losing completely because nobody sings them in public.

Jo Reed:  When you were a teenager did you go through a period of distancing yourself a bit from traditional music? Were you seduced by rock and roll?

Sheila Kay Adams:  Absolutely. I was a child of the '60s just like everybody else was. I loved the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and Paul Revere and the Raiders and all of those-- the Who, all those bands that everybody else was so taken with, Herman's Hermits. So I was a child of the '60s but at the same time I never stopped being just mesmerized by these love songs, and when I got to be a teenager they started teaching me the or learning me as they called it the more adult songs. Prior to that I had sort of gotten songs that I didn't really know the meaning of and when I would ask they would say, "Oh, you'll-- we'll explain that to you when you get older" and they did.

Jo Reed:  But your mother wasn't very interested.

Sheila Kay Adams:  No, she wasn't. Mama was a child of the Depression era and to a certain extent my father held the same views as Mama did. They felt like that old music, those old songs, that old fiddle-, banjo-playing music was directly linked somehow to that extreme poverty that they suffered as children and young adults. Mama told me one time that they threw their culture away with both hands because they associated it with that poverty so Mama would have rather me played piano than banjo.

Jo Reed:  Well, she gave you piano lessons.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Yes, she did, oh, I hated piano, oh, I hated piano, and I remember Miss Sarah Thomas doing the very best job that she possibly could and finally told my mother that I was completely tone deaf and it was a waste of her time, my time, and Mama's money so it worked. I got out of having to play piano or try to play piano but what she got really angry with me about is during the recital I didn't like the pitch of the Ballet Mazurka, whatever that is, but I remember the title to it so I changed the key of it on the piano because I didn't like how high it was and so I played it in a different key on the piano, but thank gosh I got out of that business but now my father thought that what I should do is country and western music because that was where I was going to make some money. He felt like that singing these old songs with no music behind them was just so old and so mountain-like and he didn't want me to get into that. He wanted me at 15 to be a country and western singer.

Jo Reed:  You didn't have much interest in that.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Well, he asked me one time when I was 15 to write a song and asked me if I could play if I thought I could learn to play guitar in a week, and at 15 me and Daddy had gone from me thinking he was the perfect man in the whole universe to locking horns because I was 15. And he had a watch that he watched all the time and I had to be home every night at ten o'clock.

He said there wasn't a damn thing that went on after ten o'clock that I needed to be a part of, that was exactly what he said, and so my curfew was ten o'clock. And so he asked me if I thought I could learn how to play guitar. Well, by then I was playing the banjo although back then I called it a banjer and I said, "Well, I think if I can learn how to play the banjer I can master the guitar in a week, sure, and it would probably help if I had one" 'cause I didn't even own a guitar. And Daddy said, "I'm going to fix that. I'm going down to the home electric and buy you a guitar." So he did. He brought me back a little Yamaha and Daddy worked a public job and would leave on Sundays and come back sometimes if he worked a ten-hour day on Thursdays but if he worked an eight-hour day he'd drive all the way home on Friday evening. And so he got me a guitar at the home electric, brought it to the house, and I learned four chords over the telephone which we had just gotten in Sodom when I was 15. And I learned four chords with Ronald Gunner telling me where to put my fingers and I wrote a little song called "Over Home."

Over Home up

Sheila Kay Adams:  And so when Daddy got back the next weekend he said, "Well, did you learn that song?" and I said, "Yep," and I sang it for him and he said, "Okay. We're going to go up to Asheville. There's going to be a Nashville, Tennessee, talent scout up there and I want you to sing that song for him," but when I got up there I got nervous and wouldn't get out of the car, I locked him out of the car and told him I was scared, and he said, "Well, unlock the door and we'll go back to the house," never mentioned it again until the summer of 1997 so that would have been about 35, 40 years later. I was in the bean patch up by Burton Cove, it must have been a hundred percent humidity and a hundred and fifty degrees up there and the gnats were big enough to carry you off if they'd have had a brain cell between them. And I come up off that ground and I said, "I've had enough of this. If it was up to me, I'd never go back into a bean patch again, ever. If I wasn't so poor, I never would go back in a bean patch." Daddy said, "If you'd have got out of the damn car up there in Asheville that night, you might not have to be in the bean patch today" so he remembered it all them years later just to pop me on that particular day in July up in the head of the Burton Cove, but now he-- Daddy always felt like I could have made it in country and western but to be honest with you it was just-- it was--for a 15-year-old girl the thoughts of that sort of thing was a little too much having grown up in a little place like Sodom where everything was so comfortable for me. I couldn't imagine going to Nashville, Tennessee. I've never been to-- I've never been west of Knoxville, Tennessee, and so there was no way that I could conceive of going to Nashville, Tennessee, and getting into that mess so I stuck with what I knew and loved, which was the old love songs and playing banjo.

Jo Reed:  Now when did you begin to play banjo?

Sheila Kay Adams:  I started playing when I was eight years old. Granny had an old banjo, but she called it a banjer, under the bed in a flour sack and I can remember one day she drug that out from under the bed, got it out and there was still flour that was all over the fretboard and on the strings, and she laid it up in the middle of the bed and said, "Don't you touch that banjer. I'm goin' to the barn to gather eggs." And when she came back I was tryin' to pick out Cripple Creek on the banjo so it was a little reverse psychology. And then I had a cousin who just recently passed away, Jerry Adams, who played a fabulous two-finger-style banjo and he started teaching me how to play when I was about eight and a half or so because I was trying my best to learn and he just showed me some things that I could do. And you first had to learn the song of course and so I started listening to a lot of the fiddle tunes and then when I was a teenager I heard a banjo player from West Virginia, Dwight Diller, play and just fell in love with clawhammer style.

Jo Reed:  Now explain what that is.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Clawhammer is where you don't pick up on a string, you're always striking the string down, and you hold you hand with the fingers curled under and your thumb kind of cocked up and you're playing all the notes with the down stroke on your index finger while muting some of the strings with your middle finger and you're riding the thumb string nonstop except now and then you drop the thumb down onto the second string, and that's what clawhammer is. It's an old, old style of playing. I remember asking Granny one time why she thought that style developed because that was not--Lee Wallin played a version of clawhammer but the popular way of playing around here was the two-finger style. And I asked Granny one time why she thought that that curling your hand around like that would have developed into a style of playing banjo with your fingers tucked, all of them curled in and like almost making a fist-- a loose fist, and she said, "Well, if you think about it them poor old fellers'd be out on the side of a mountain plowing all day, holding on to a plow handle, so when they came in their hands'd probably be blistered and so stiff that they would just adapt their playing of the banjer in the way that they'd held their hand all day long." And that made the most sense to me of anything that anybody's ever said.

Jo Reed:  Can we have an example of that?

Sheila Kay Adams:  Absolutely, I love the banjo. <plays banjo>

So let me see. The lovely thing about a banjo is that it is the only stringed instrument that is indigenous to America, the five-string banjo is, and it's one of the loudest, most obnoxious instruments as well, and Granny told me that in the olden times as she referred to them, which would have been her grandparents' generation, that the banjo was a woman's instrument and I didn't know that. She said, "It's a woman's instrument" and I said, "Well, why was that?" and she said, "Because the men played the fiddle and the women would accompany them on the banjo." She said my great-grandmother, Betty Ray, was one of the best banjo players she had ever heard.

Jo Reed:  Wow. I had no idea.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Yep. I didn't either, and I said, "Well, why hadn't you told me that before?" She was up in her eighties and she said, "Why, you hadn't asked me before now" so I wonder how many more things I missed because I just didn't know the right question to ask, but this is a tune that I actually learned from an uncle of mine by the name of Byard Ray. It's a tune called Saint Anne's Reel. <plays banjo>

Jo Reed:  That's beautiful.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Thank you.

Jo Reed:  Before we started recording, you told me what happened when you got the phone call from Barry Bergey about the National Heritage Fellows.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Right.

Jo Reed:  Share that?

Sheila Kay Adams: When Barry was trying to get in touch with me back in April to let me know that I'd received the award I didn't have a clue; I didn't even have a clue I'd been nominated for the award by anybody. And so I thought that Barry was getting in touch with me to ask me to emcee the ceremony and I thought well, golly, that'll be-- that'd be a great gig to be able to go up and be a part of that and get to meet all the recipients. So I asked Barry when we finally connected a couple of days later, I said, "So Barry, Honey, are you callin' me up to ask me to emcee the NEA Fellowship Awards? That would be so cool and I'd be glad to do that. Is that what you're after, dear?" And there was a pause and then he laughed and he said, "No, Sheila, honey, I would like for you to come up and take your award back to North Carolina with you" and I started to cry right there because I've, I understand about the NEA Award and what it means.

Jo Reed:  What does it mean?

Sheila Kay Adams: To me what it means is the highest honor that you can receive doing the kind of traditional music or stories or songs that I do; it's the-- it's kind of the highest A-OK, you're doing exactly what you ought to be doing in this tradition, award that anybody can receive.

Jo Reed:  I like that definition of it:  You're doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Yes, and you get recognition and awarded for that and what greater thing in your life can you receive than this that you're doing is exactly what you ought to be doing.

That was 2013 National Heritage Fellow, Sheila Kay Adams. next week, Sheila returns to tell us some stories about Sodom North Carolina..

Sheila will be one of the performers at The National Heritage Fellowships Concert which takes place here in Washington DC at the Lisner Auditorium on Friday, September 27, 2013 at 8 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public. You can find them at  lisner.org   and if you can't make it to Washington DC, we're live streaming the concert on our website at arts.gov.

You’ve been listening to "Art Works," produced at the National Endowment for the Arts.

Adam Kampe is the musical supervisor.

You heard excerpts from Young Hunting, Barbary Allen, Young Emily,

The Seven Nights Drunk, Over Home, and Saint Anne's Reel.

All performed by Sheila Kay Adams.

The Art Works podcast is posted every Thursday at arts.gov. You can subscribe to "Art Works" at iTunes U. Just click on the iTunes link on our podcast page. To find out how art works in communities across the country, keep checking the "Art Works" blog, or follow us @NEAARTS on Twitter. For the National Endowment for the arts, I’m Josephine Reed. Thanks

Sheila Kay Adams

Sheila Kay Adams: It's really funny because storytelling was not something that was taught and learned over home; it was called having a conversation; my father called it holding forth. Daddy was the best storyteller I've ever heard in my life and if you tried to interrupt him when he was holding forth he would say, "No. I'm holding forth right now and if you've got anything interesting to say you can hold forth here in a minute" and he'd go on with his story…

Jo Reed: That is 2013 National Heritage Award recipient, Sheila Kay Adams.

Welcome to Art Works, the program that goes behind the scenes with some of the nation's great artists to explore how art works. I'm your host, Josephine Reed.

Sheila Kay Adams is a renowned musician, singer, and storyteller. I visited her in her home in Madison County soon after she found out she received the National Heritage award.  This is the second of a two-part interview. Last week, we focused on her music, this week we turn her attention to her storytelling. Although performing since she was a teenager, Sheila didn't add storytelling to her onstage repertoire until later in life. But once she did, she found great acclaim for those tales she told about the good people of Sodom, North Carolina—whose business she knew as well as her own: she was after all related to most of them, she had 72 first cousins. Sheila's told her stories at festivals throughout the country including the Smithsonian Folklife Festival held during the Bicentennial and the acclaimed International Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee.

But Sheila was a little shy about telling stories on stage because as we just heard, storytelling was just a way of life for her and her kin.

Sheila Kay Adams:  I started performing on stage telling stories and had no idea that I was a storyteller. I got recommended for the big national storytelling festival over in Jonesborough, Tennessee. I had no idea what I was doing when I went over there, not a clue what I was doing, and David Holt told me, "Just go out there and be yourself. That's all you have to do. Just go out there and talk to them and tell them about Sodom" and I was scared to death, but I learned how to tell a story. I can tell you the exact date. It was the first Friday in October in 19 and 97 because at Jonesborough during a full hour set they will pair you with somebody, another storyteller, and the first person that I got paired with at 11 o'clock in the morning on that Friday in 1997 was a man by the name of Donald Davis who is recognized as Mr. Storyteller in this country and he went on before I did. So I had to figure out a story pretty quick because he was fabulously amazing at telling stories and he sounded a lot like my daddy, and so I thought well, all I know to do is go out there and just tell some daddy stories and that's what I did.

Jo Reed:  What story did you tell?

Sheila Kay Adams:  I told one that actually me and Daddy were a part of that was when snake handlers came to Sodom and I got Inez Chandler to go with me to the snake handling 'cause I knew there'd be stories to tell for years and that was in 19 and 70, thereabouts, when I graduated from high school and I'm telling it in 2013, the same story. We went up to the Lowgap Church house and Inez was a character; she didn't have a filter between her brain and mouth. Now this is about a 30-minute story but I'll shorten it for you. She had a way of putting herself into and then extracting herself out of a car and there's an old saying over Sodom now, "Inezin' it" into and out of a car 'cause she would back up and flop down and then she had all this double-knit polyester on because she was a big and stout woman; that's how she referred to herself. And so we went up to the snake handling and Inez was suspicious from the get-go. She said, "You know, I don't know that we ought to do this. Either it just it's going to be a big gom up there, a big mess, or else nobody's going to show up and we're just going to all look like fools," but I finally talked her into going and we did. Well, they came, the snake handlers did. There were six of them, three men and three women, and two of the men was carrying boxes and they set one box on either side of this little pulpit at the front of the church. Well, somebody in the church house—and it was smack packed full of people—I bet you there was 450 people up there at this little one-room church on the side of Lonesome Mountain. They hadn't all come for the right reasons and this woman stood up, we'd gone to see the show. I mean that's what everybody had-- that's what Inez said later, "You know, why we was a mindin' our own business up there just to see the show." Well, somebody that was a member of that church got up and was just giving us down the road for not coming for the right reasons. Well, she pointed her finger right before she set down and said, "And now my opinion of all of this business is you'ns ought not to do this" and she hadn't no more than got settled on that bench to where that preacher jumped straight up off the floor off both feet and when he hit the floor he was running back and forth going "Chi ma ma ma" and Inez said, "Yes, sir, they'll get them snakes out now for sure. He's done talking in tongues" and that went on for a while. And then all of a sudden he charged one of them boxes and flipped up the lid on it and he reached down in there and disappeared up to his elbows and brought out one of the biggest diamondback rattlesnakes that I have ever seen in my life in full sing and was carrying it in his hands around in amongst the congregation. And Inez I don't know what she expected but now remember there was no filter between her brain and mouth. She, her hind end come up off of that bench and she turned around and faced the congregation and it was just packed and screamed at the top of her lungs, "Hell, them's real snakes." I don't know what she thought was coming out of them boxes but when she done that the whole congregation blew up and headed for the door, which opened to the inside, and they'd closed the door when they came in. So there's all these people up against the wall and I followed Inez Chandler out of that church house, her with her pocketbook raised up like a wedge, and she beat people in the head with that big, old ball of a clasp of a thing on that pocketbook and we were one of the first ones out onto the porch, but I'll tell you one thing. When we got down to the car there was none of this "Inezin' it" into the car. She was slick as a ribbon in that car with the door shut and locked before I could get from the back bumper up to the driver's side, and she told me after I'd got her to the house, "Don't you never come down here and try to take me off to no religious goin's on 'cause I done see that me and you don't gee haw when it comes to that religion business," but that was what I told when I had to follow Donald Davis and it was just that recollection and memory and having this kind of weird something going on up there for detail in my brain that…

Jo Reed:  I was just thinking that. It's the detail.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Yeah.

Jo Reed: It's a crazy story to begin with and what's wonderful about your stories is the sense as a listener that I completely believe them.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Right.

Jo Reed:  I absolutely believe them and the detail just adds so much to it so you're talking and I'm seeing this whole thing play out in my mind.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Oh, yeah, and I left out most of that story because I can remember hanging on the wall in the Lowgap Church house was one of those little wooden plaque-like things where you put in how many people were there the Sunday before and how much collection they had taken up and all this, that and the other, and they'd taken up a dollar and 17 cents and there was 23 people there the Sunday before. And I bet you there was over 400, I know there were over 400 people there that night and so she had some right to get up and complain a little bit but that preacher didn't think-- he didn't appreciate it too much and so see, in my mind I can see all of that just like it's unfolding in my mind just like a love song, like I learned the love song, about attention to detail, and I embellish a little bit but not a whole lot. Pretty much it's a true story but it's just I was blessed with this kind of funky memory.

Jo Reed:  Well, they're memorable stories.

Sheila Kay Adams:  They well, they are memorable stories and I think that's part of it too.

Jo Reed:  I love the story of little Peggy.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Oh, little Betty and Amos.

Jo Reed:  I mean little Betty-- I'm sorry-- little Betty and Amos.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Right, yeah, little Betty and Amos. He was a great, big feller.

He's about 6'6" and weighed probably 400 pounds and he got real sick one winter and got double pneumonia and I mean Daddy used to say, "Amos Lundy is older than God's dog," and that's why he passed on.  So he was an older fellow and he did pass up in the spring and back then they had the setting-ups as they called them at home and so the undertaker would come and get the body and take him off down to Marshall and fix him up in whatever clothes you sent with him.  Well, Daddy used to say all Baptist over at home and he would tick off all the Baptists, the free will and the hard shell and the regular and the southern and the primitive and progressive primitive and foot washing and the holy rolling and then he'd get to the buzzard Baptists and I would always bust out laughing because I'd say, "What's a buzzard Baptist, Daddy?" and he's say, "They're Baptist that only go to church when there's a funeral, so I call them the buzzard Baptist," and he said every time he cut down a tree, they'd have a big swarm in some Baptist church over at home and they'd go down the road wherever they cut that tree down and build a new hive like bees swarming all. So they'd had a big swarm and the people that were left in the church and I think it was the regular Baptists that Amos and Little Betty belonged to, but they had had a swarm and part of them had gone off down the road and built them a church.  So the ones left in the church took up money, bought Amos a suit.  He had never owned a suit all his life.  I'd only seen him in overalls and then the swarm down the road were not going to be outdone, so they bought Amos another suit, a different color.  So there was Amos at his death with two suits.  Bless his heart.  He never owned one his whole life.  So Little Betty decided on the green suit because he was green-eyed.  Now I don't know why she would think-- that's kind of odd if you study on it that she was going to pick out a suit to match his eyes after he had passed.  So anyhow, they brought him back to the house, undertaker did, and set him up there in the front room for the setting-up.  That was the wake and people would bring food and they'd have three or four tables set up and the weight of the food would just have them tables sagging.  So she was getting ready, preparing for the setting-up and the first person to show up was Vine and that was Little Betty's sister.  Well, they got into a conversation about how he didn't look natural.  His hair weren't parted on the right side, so they fixed that. Then Little Betty got to looking at him and said, "Well you know I never thought about the fact that his eyes would be closed.  That green suit don't look near as good as that blue suit would look, so I believe we ought to change his clothes."  Now he was in his coffin up on those stands and somehow them two women wallowed him out of that coffin, got him jerked up onto the side, the lip of it, and it's sort of narrow up there and so Amos, you know gravity works and he fell on the end of the floor and then they changed his clothes and then they couldn't pick him up, get him back over in the coffin.  So Little Betty came up the house to get Daddy and Daddy is watching a baseball game, totally engrossed in the ballgame. He loved baseball, Lord, Lord. 

Jo Reed:  A Yankee fan.

Sheila Kay Adams:  He was a Yankees fan right up until Atlanta came along, but he was a Yankees fan and I was about eight years old sitting on the couch watching Daddy because he was a lot more fun to watch and listen to than Howard Cosell or whoever it was on the radio, whatever announcer was announcing that day, and all of a sudden the door swings open and there's Little Betty hanging onto the doorknob, breathing hard because she's walked up the hill from down at her house.  She said, "Irving, you've got to come down to the house and help us get Amos back in his coffin," and I'll never ever forget the look on Daddy's face.  It was just like this "Huh?" and he looked over at her and said, "Well, where in the world is he, Little Betty?  I thought he was dead," and Little Betty said, "Irving, you fool.  He is dead. Me and Vine got him out of the coffin to change his clothes and we can't pick him up off of the floor to get him back over in his coffin.  He's laying there on the floor and people will talk," and Daddy said, "Little Betty, damned if you didn't worry him to death the whole time he was living and you're still after him."  So, but anyhow, Daddy being the kind of person he was, he stood up and Daddy had a little devil man in him, but so did I.  Eight years old, I stood up.  I wasn't going to miss that.  I mean have Amos laying out on the floor that way down there.  I had to tell all 72 of my first cousins.  So down the road we went and we got down there and sure enough there laid Amos on the floor, Vine a keeping watch.  I don't know where she thought he was going, but she was watching him just like he might _________ off at any minute and Daddy and Little Betty and Vine couldn't pick him up.  Daddy finally went down to the store where there was a crowd of men watching the ballgame, had ganged up down there to watch the ballgame, and he come back with a carload of men and that was back when they had running boards on the side of cars and there was men standing on the running board.  There was three or four on the running boards and they all came in the house and between all of the men and Vine and Little Betty, they kind of picked him, scooped him up off the floor and pressed him back down in his coffin, shuffled over there and pressed him back down in it and then they stepped back and started talking about the ballgame just like nothing had happened, left me and Vine and Little Betty standing there looking over in the coffin and I'll be dipped if Little Betty didn't straighten his tie up, smooth his hair down, and then looked at Vine, her sister, and said, "Well, now that I look at him laying there, I believe I did like him better in that other suit," but now they left him in the blue one.  They didn't change his clothes anymore. I thought everybody lived that same way.  I thought that same stuff happened to everybody and I found out when I went to Mars Hill College that I was wrong.  Not everybody did grow up like I did in Sodom.

Jo Reed:  It was a town of characters.

Sheila Kay Adams:  It absolutely was and it was just this little mountain community that everybody knew everybody's business and nobody cared that everybody knew.

Jo Reed:  How many brothers and sisters did you have?

Sheila Kay Adams:  I had one sister.  Coming from families like my mother had a big family, Daddy had a big family, and they had two daughters and that was it, but now with Daddy's brothers and two sisters and Momma's brother and her sisters, I had 72 first cousins at one time because they came from such big families.

Jo Reed:  Now you tour.

Sheila Kay Adams:  I do.

Jo Reed: You've lived in Madison County all your life.  You have the best of both worlds, don't you?

Sheila Kay Adams:  Yes, I do.

Jo Reed:  You live in Madison County and you also travel fairly extensively.

Sheila Kay Adams:  I do.

Jo Reed:  How is it translating the stories outside of Madison County for you?

Sheila Kay Adams:  Well, I was just up in Lowell, Massachusetts at the Lowell Folk Festival and they loved the stories, they loved the songs.  People would come up to me once I'd finished a performance.  They'd be waiting backstage or else they'd walk up to me at some point during the festival, having seen me out in the crowd, and they'd say, "I just loved your stories.  It reminded me so much of the way my grandmother said things were or the way I remember my grandmother when I would visit with her out in rural Massachusetts."  See, I've always thought of Massachusetts as being one big Boston, but that's not true.  Everywhere we go in this world, I've performed in upstate New York, even over in Scotland and England and Ireland and it's still-- I've had men, older men come up to me after a concert with tears in their eyes and saying, "I had not thought of a wood cook stove since my grandmother made porridge for me on a wood cook stove in 1928," or whatever.  So I think it's just finding that human connection that all of us are a part of.  We are all connected, so we all have the same wants and needs and desires for ourselves and for our children, our grandchildren, and if you go back far enough, we all come from a rural background.  Every single one of us do.  You might have to go back a little further for some folks, but there's just something about that that touches a chord with everybody that I get up in front of, whether it's the stories, the songs, banjo tunes.  It all seems like it's just a really good way of connecting with people even of different backgrounds, different religions, different ethnic backgrounds.  It doesn't matter because we all want the same thing.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Yes, they are and I'm just so thankful that I was blessed with a family that held all those traditions in loving hands and passed them on to me.  I really am.  I am so grateful.

Jo Reed:  And you're also very committed to passing them on to the next generation.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Absolutely I am because some of the people I learned from had doubts as to whether it would last into the 21st century and wherever they are, I hope they know that it's lasted.  It's lasted well into the 21st century and I have a bunch of young people, Elizabeth Laprell [ph?], Sam Gleaves [ph?], that are two of the best singers of these old love songs I've ever heard and both of them-- I think Elizabeth's in her 20s and Sam might be 20 by now, so Josh Goforth [ph?], a cousin of mine who is out there playing music in the big world and telling stories and singing the old love songs, so they're going right on through the generations and now my grandson Ezra, who's 7 years old, can already sing three love songs.  So I'm committed to getting them right on up into the 22nd century.

Jo Reed:  It's interesting, there really has been such a revitalization I think for traditional music, traditional stories.  People I think are appreciating what a just wonderfully rich and uniquely American art form this is and not wanting to let it go and not even from a, "We need to preserve this because it's an art form," but just plain loving it.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Absolutely.  It's like hearing my granny and her sister sing those old songs took me back to a time when things were simple. As Granny used to say, "Don't get that confused with easy.  They were simpler times," but it was like each time they would sing one of those songs was the first time they had sung that song.  I have seen Berzille crank up and cry on the same verse in the same song at least 30 times.  She would start crying at that particular verse and the first time it happened, I said, "Little Granny, are you all right?" and she said, "I'm all right.  It just breaks my heart what that poor little old girl let herself into whenever she done that deed that she did."  Every time she would crank up and cry.  So those songs meant a lot to them.  They were a part of their everyday life and they were in context and I was fortunate enough to grow up in a time in the ‘50s and ‘60s when that was still true because this little community of Sodom was still extremely rural.  Everybody had cows and nobody had telephones until I was 15, so things hadn't changed very much.

 

Jo Reed:  You did something that's almost impossible which is you took these stories that obviously come from an oral tradition and you wrote them down.  You put them to page and without losing that sense of authenticity.  What made you decide?  You've written a book of short stories, "Come Go Home With Me," and a novel, "My Old True Love."  What made you decide to do that?

Sheila Kay Adams:  Wow.  Well, I started telling my children stories when they were small and they got to the point and my youngest son, Andrew, was the one that really loved-- he would say, "Momma, don't read a book tonight.  Tell one of them stories from the olden times," and what he was talking about was when I was a little girl and so they would get to the point, my three kids, to where if I went off of the story just a little bit from the way I'd been telling it, they would've said, "That's not right.  That's not right.  We remember what you said," and so I wrote them down as a result of that so I could not read them, but just have sort of a reference so that I could tell them the same way each time.  Now they were perfectly fine if I brought in new information and told them I was going-- that I'd just remembered something different that I needed to put in that story, but they didn't like for me to change it much, so I went down to the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching down in Cullowhee at Western Carolina University for a week when I was teaching school because I taught school for 17 years before I became a performer, or on the road full time performer, and so I went down there for a week and because Lee Smith, the author Lee Smith was one of the facilitators at this weeklong seminar down there and she's one of my favorite authors and so while I was down there the woman who had put that session together with Lee Smith and Kay Byer who was our poet laureate for a while, her name was Jodie and I was sitting next to Lee at supper and Jodie come up to the table and said, "So Sheila, have you shown Lee Smith any of your stories?" and I was mortified because this was Lee Smith.  I mean the real writer Lee Smith and I just had these little bunch of stories that I told my kids and told my family and caused them to like and I said, "Oh no," and Lee said, "Well, I'd like to look at them," and so she took them with her that night and read over them and the next day asked me if I thought I'd like to get them published and I said, "Oh, there wouldn't be nobody that was interested in publishing those things," and she said, "I think so."  So she took them to the University of North Carolina Press and the next thing I knew I had a book of short stories out and the novel--

Jo Reed:  And the book of short stories won prizes.

Sheila Kay Adams:  It did.

Jo Reed:  <inaudible>.

Sheila Kay Adams:  The short stories won the North Carolina Award for Historical Fiction the year it came out and it got a lot of good reviews, one of them from "Life" magazine, so it was quite an experience.  Well, that was in 1995 and then around 2000-- my father passed away in 1998 and I kept thinking about this story Daddy told me that had to do with it would've been my great-great-aunt Artie [ph?] who raised a cousin of hers and was his surrogate mother who grew up and was best friends with her brother Hackley and they went off to the Civil War together and this horrible thing happened and so I kept thinking to myself that's a story that ought to be told.  It really ought to be, but it's a long story, so how am I going to tell that story?  I can't tell it in segments because when you get up in front of an audience, they expect you to start a story and give them the meat of it and then end it, so I thought, "Well, I reckon the only thing I can do is write a novel," and at that time I was working on a little movie called "Song Catcher" and Aiden Quinn convinced me that I ought to write a book about that story because I told it to him.  I told him the story over about a three-year span and he said, "You really ought to write that as a book," and so that got me started and then Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill picked it up and then Balentine got the paperback rights for it and it's still out there going.

Jo Reed:  It sure is.  Going pretty well.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Yeah.  "Come Go Home With Me," the book of short stories is the longest running in-print book that UNC Press has had because it's still going, almost 30 years later.

Jo Reed:  Those stories about the old days.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Yeah, the olden days.  He'd say the olden days.

Jo Reed:  I used to say the old days.  I used to say to my gra-- tell me about the old days.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Old days, right.

Jo Reed:  It's so interesting how kids, they really are interested in where they come from and what went on before.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Yes, they are and I'm just so thankful that I was blessed with a family that held all those traditions in loving hands and passed them on to me.  I really am.  I am so grateful.

Jo Reed:  And you're also very committed to passing them on to the next generation.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Absolutely I am because some of the people I learned from had doubts as to whether it would last into the 21st century and wherever they are, I hope they know that it's lasted.  It's lasted well into the 21st century and I have a bunch of young people, Elizabeth Laprell, Sam Gleaves that are two of the best singers of these old love songs I've ever heard and both of them, I think Elizabeth's in her 20s and Sam might be 20 by now, so Josh Goforth, a cousin of mine who is out there playing music in the big world and telling stories and singing the old love songs, so they're going right on through the generations and now my grandson Ezra, who's 7 years old, can already sing three love songs. So I'm committed to getting them right on up into the 22nd century.

Jo Reed:  It's interesting, there really has been such a revitalization I think for traditional music, traditional stories.  People I think are appreciating what a just wonderfully rich and uniquely American art form this is and not wanting to let it go and not even from a, "We need to preserve this because it's an art form," but just plain loving it.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Absolutely.  It's like hearing my granny and her sister sing those old songs took me back to a time when things were simple.  As Granny used to say, "Don't get that confused with easy.  They were simpler times," but also it was like each time they would sing one of those songs was the first time they had sung that song.  I have seen __________ crank up and cry on the same verse in the same song at least 30 times.  She would start crying at that particular verse and the first time it happened, I said, "Little Granny, are you all right?" and she said, "I'm all right.  It just breaks my heart what that poor little old girl let herself into whenever she done that deed that she did."  Every time she would crank up and cry.  So those songs meant a lot to them.  They were a part of their everyday life and they were in context and I was fortunate enough to grow up in a time in the ‘50s and ‘60s when that was still true because this little community of Sodom was still extremely rural.  Everybody had cows and nobody had telephones until I was 15, so things hadn't changed very much.

Jo Reed:  I'm going to ask you, if you don't mind, if you don't mind playing another song for me?

Sheila Kay Adams:  I don't mind a bit.  <tunes instrument> I don't know if you knew this or not, but my husband took his life on March 7 in 2009.

Jo Reed:  Yeah, I had heard he had been ill.  That must've been very hard.

Sheila Kay Adams:  It destroyed my world, Jo.  I couldn't even play banjo because he was not just my companion and partner in life and the love of my life and best friend and lovers and all that, husband, he was also my business partner.  He was a great musician.  But he developed Lyme's disease and didn't take all of his antibiotics and so he created a super strain of that spirochete, it went straight to his brain and Jim lost his mind for the last 18 months of our marriage and I didn't have a clue what was going on….

Jo Reed:  When did you find out what was happening?

Sheila Kay Adams: He had gone out to the shop out there and had taken his own life, shot himself.  And my world fell apart right there.  Everything about my world just went.  It was just like this big bubble of glass had blew up and just shattered, went rolling off down over the hill out there.  And it took me four years to decide that I was going to be able to live and part of what happened to me was being awarded the NEA award.  That gave me something that I really needed other than just winning this award.

Jo Reed: Of course.  I understand that completely.

Sheila Kay Adams: This is some kind of story.  This time a year ago I would've been in no shape to have done this, but the timing was just perfect. And that's why that I have such a grateful attitude about this NEA award because it is like it came at the perfect time. It came at a time when I was healed enough from that trauma to be able to accept it because I had just made the decision to move on, to try to move on with my life in literally February and then the news came in that I'd gotten the NEA award in April.

Jo Reed:  That is timing.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Is that not timing?

Jo Reed:  Yeah, that's amazing.

Sheila Kay Adams:  It is amazing and I don't know how many recipients of the NEA award have ever said this award validated my existence on this planet and really truly and honestly from their heart meant it, but for me, this award validated my existence.

Jo Reed:  And it also validated that decision you made in February.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Absolutely, but isn't it funny how I had to make that decision before…

Jo Reed:  This would come, yeah.  It makes perfect sense, though, doesn't it?

Sheila Kay Adams:  Yes it does. Yes it does to me too. I had just decided that the only thing that went to the grave with Jim were the dreams I had with Jim.  I had finally made that distinction that it wasn't 100 percent of my life, it was just 100 percent of the dreams with Jim that went into the grave and then that's when I started to fight for my life, to get my life back.  And I always get real emotional about it because then in April I got this call from Barry that changed my whole world.  I mean it put me right back there where I needed to be. Even though I couldn't tell anybody, it was still the two best days of my life after I talked to Barry and found out that I had received this award because it has been a life-changing experience for me. So that's what's in my heart. I don't I've ever experienced this much joy.

Sheila Kay Adams:  And this is actually a song that came from the Civil War era that probably some young man from North Carolina wrote when he was going off to war and my late husband Jim used to sing this song.  It's called "I'm Going Back to North Carolina." <plays music> <sings>

"I'm going back to North Carolina.  I'm going back to North Carolina.  I'm going back to North Carolina and I never expect to see you anymore.  How can I ever keep from crying?  How can I ever keep from crying?  How can I ever keep from crying?  I never expect to see you anymore."

Jo Reed:  Thank you.

Sheila Kay Adams:  You're welcome.

Jo Reed:  And it's beautiful to hear it sitting on the porch with the rain …

Sheila Kay Adams:  With the rain in the background, yeah.

Jo Reed: … at this beautiful, beautiful mountain.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Yeah, it's the prettiest place in the world and I've been all over the world doing this.

Jo Reed:  Sheila, thank you so much, truly--

Sheila Kay Adams:  You are so much welcome.

Jo Reed:  and many congratulations, truly.

Sheila Kay Adams:  Thank you.

Jo Reed:  I was very, very happy to see your name on that list and I am even happier now.

Sheila Kay Adams: Well, thank you very much, Jo.

Jo Reed:  Sure, thank you.

Sheila Kay Adams:  It's been my pleasure.

Jo Reed:  Thank you.

That was 2013 National Heritage Fellow, Sheila Kay Adams.

You can hear Sheila perform live at The National Heritage Fellowships Concert which takes place here in Washington, DC in the Lisner Audiortium on Friday, September 27, 2013 at 8 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public. You can find them at lisner.org  and if you can't make it to Washington DC, we're live streaming the concert on our website at arts.gov.

You've been listening to "Art Works," produced at the National Endowment for the Arts. Adam Kampe is the musical supervisor. 

You heard excerpts from "St. Anne's Reel" and "I'm Going Back to North Carolina" both performed by Sheila Kay Adams.

The "Art Works" podcast is posted every Thursday at arts.gov.  You can subscribe to "Art Works" at iTunes U.  Just click on the iTunes link on our podcast page.  To find out how art works in communities across the country, keep checking the "Art Works" blog, or follow us @NEAARTS on Twitter.  For the National Endowment for the arts, I'm Josephine Reed. Thanks for listening.