West Virginia author B. L. Dotson-Lewis has published her third book on the people and culture of the Appalachian region.
The Sunny Side of Appalachia: Bluegrass from the Grassroots traces the early days of the music through first person oral histories from seminal grassers Everett Lilly, Jesse McReynolds, Bobby Osborne and Aubrey Holt. Their stories are related verbatim, retaining the dialectical quirks of the original conversations.
The focus is on how these early artists told the stories of mountain people through their songs, and how they continued to do so against the odds stacked against them – dismissive record companies, low wages and small town venues.
Lewis also includes a narrative on Bill Monroe based on her research of available resources, and personal testimony from friends and business associates.
The book runs to 184 pages and is printed with large text and many black and white photos. It sells for $15.95 and can be ordered online.