Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Capturing the SouthImagining America's Most Documented Region$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Scott L. Matthews

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469646459

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469646459.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

Field Trip—Kentucky

Field Trip—Kentucky

John Cohen, Roscoe Holcomb, and Documentary Expression during the Folk Revival

(p.112) Chapter Three Field Trip—Kentucky
Capturing the South

Scott L. Matthews

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter explores the field recordings, films, and photographs John Cohen made in eastern Kentucky during the 1950s and 1960s, particularly of the musician Roscoe Holcomb. It discusses Cohen’s connection to the era’s folk music revival and how his documentary work in the region represented both a break with his predecessors and a continuation of the tradition’s dominant themes. Cohen was motivated by personal desire and aesthetic interests rather than reformism or politics. Under the influence of the modern folk revival, Beat culture, Abstract Expressionism, and existentialism, Cohen created a new documentary ethos and methodology. Yet, he also presented Holcomb and southern Appalachia in a familiar manner. In his photographs, on records such as Mountain Music of Kentucky, and in his film, The High Lonesome Sound, they represented pure tradition, symbols of folk authenticity in an increasingly standardized and commercialized America. This chapter also addresses how Holcomb, and some members of his family, challenged Cohen’s vision of their culture and home, and how Holcomb himself, despite his friendship with Cohen, occasionally resisted Cohen’s attempts to represent his private life for a public audience.

Keywords:   John Cohen, Roscoe Holcomb, folk music revival, Appalachia, Eastern Kentucky, folk, authenticity, tradition

North Carolina Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .