Happy birthday to Morgan Sexton! The late Letcher County singer and banjo player and National Heritage Fellow was born this week in 1911. Please join us in celebrating his life & music with a clip from his third and final performance at Seedtime on the Cumberland in 1991. In this segment, Morgan tunes for and performs “Little Orphan Girl,” then “Pretty Polly.” The recording was preserved by Appalshop Archive from the original 8-track audio tape with support from the GRAMMY Foundation, as part of an ongoing project to preserve live Seedtime performances.
About Morgan Sexton (1911-1992): “He was born…on a small farm in Letcher County, worked in the logging woods and worked many years in the coal mines. Indeed he stopped playing music for a long time because work in the mines left his hands painful and stiff…Unusual among banjo players, he played many more songs than tunes, in effect singing duets with his instrument. He knew the subtleties and dynamics of phrasing to a rare degree. His music was part of a personality that was strong and warm and unassuming, and he never failed to leave an audience transfixed.“ -Seedtime on the Cumberland radio series produced by Rich Kirby, 2001
Image: Contact sheet detail of Morgan Sexton performing outdoors, location unknown