In honor of Women’s History Month and to celebrate the March birthday of Sheila Kay Adams, Appalshop Archive is pleased to share the entirety of the ballad singer and storyteller’s performance at our 1992 Seedtime on the Cumberland Festival. In this audio recording–preserved with support from the GRAMMY Foundation–Adams dedicates the evening to traditional North Carolina ballad singer Cas Wallin, who had passed away earlier that week. She performs songs learned from Cas, including a verse from his unique version of “Amazing Grace.”
Please enjoy the full evening of tunes and stories, including a tale about going to church with ballad singer Inez Chandler on the day the snake handlers came to town.
Sheila Kay Adams has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts as a National Heritage Fellow for her artistry and devotion to preserving and perpetuating ballad traditions passed down through many generations in Madison County, North Carolina. This recording was preserved by Appalshop Archive as part of the “Seedtime on the Cumberland Festival Live Recordings Collection” project with support from the GRAMMY Foundation and Appalshop P&E Fund.
The still image used here of Adams is from Alan Lomax’s “American Patchwork” series footage (1982), and is part of Appalshop’s digital collection of repatriated Lomax recordings, courtesy of the Association for Cultural Equity.