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Program 1706

1. Artist Deward Eades
2. Our Town—West Liberty
3. Banjo Bill
4. Cave Explorer Rick Toomey
   (Flash® format only)
Season 17 Menu

Jefferson County

Producer/Videographer: Frank Simkonis
Editor: Dan Taulbee

Artist Deward Eades

For years Deward Eades was a New York painter and sculptor. Eades also shared his insights and techniques with budding artists, teaching high school art for 30 years.

Retired from teaching, the octogenarian has returned to Kentucky to be with his family. Now his artwork is gaining the appreciation of his home state. The Higgins Maxwell Gallery in Louisville recently featured a retrospective on Deward Eades.

Discussing his fascination with "the landscape of the mind," Eades talks with us about creating art for the past 70 years.

Morgan County

For more information:
City of West Liberty

Producer/Videographer: John Schroering
Editor: Dan Taulbee

Our Town—West Liberty

Many Kentuckians know West Liberty for its autumn Sorghum Festival, when the little Morgan County town celebrates its mountain heritage with a parade, music, arts and crafts, and, of course, a mule-drawn cane mill and samples of the sweet homemade syrup. The festival is just one example of the ways in which the townsfolk pass on their country traditions.

Located on the Licking River, the town was originally called Wells Mill. It became West Liberty in 1823, so the story goes, for the mistaken notion that a town called Liberty was going to be the county seat of Pike County to the east.

Music plays a big part in daily life here. West Liberty is known for its summertime Bluegrass Festival, which has attracted the likes of Ralph Stanley, the Lonesome River Band, and the Grascals, as well as local bands. The people prize self-sufficiency, and a recent New York Times article noted a resurgence of the home vegetable garden here.

Knott County

For more information:
The Lost Recordings of Banjo Bill Cornett from the Field Recorders' Collective
• From Smithsonian Folkways on YouTube: Bill Cornett sings "Pretty Polly"

Producer/Audio: Jeffrey Hill, Morehead State University
Videographer/Editor: Chris Merritt
Lighting: Tim Creekmore

Banjo Bill

He was known for his strong passion for both the banjo and helping the elderly and infirm. "Banjo Bill" Cornett (1890-1960) was a well-respected Hindman musician as well as a state legislator.

He was elected to the state General Assembly in 1956, serving until his death. A campaign poster from 1956 states, "I am for free medical care for the aged and disabled people and raise in their pension check." He drew attention to his cause by singing his "Old Age Pension Blues" on the floor of the House. That song and others by Cornett are available on Smithsonian Folkways' "Mountain Music of Kentucky."

Cornett learned to play the banjo as a child and by all accounts became a masterful musician. He recorded his songs in the 1950s at home on a tape recorder borrowed from his son. "I don't know who I'll give this recording to," he says in the introduction. "I want to give it to someone who will keep it and if there's any people after I'm gone who'd like to hear my carrying on as far as my singing and banjo playing is concerned, I'd like them to keep it."

Cornett's music has made its way to YouTube and found a new generation of admirers. He was the subject of a poem by Kentucky writer James Still, "Banjo Bill Cornett," which calls the banjo "his own true love...His voice is whispering water, the speech of a dove."

Edmonson County

For more information:
Mammoth Cave International Center for Science and Learning

Producer/Editor: Cheryl Beckley
Videographer: David Brinkley, Brent Boyens
Production Assistants: Jessica Gibbs, Zaac Christopher, Bentley Blair

Cave Explorer Rick Toomey

For anyone interested in the Earth's past, exploring Mammoth Cave is a dream come true. Rick Toomey's full time job is director of the Mammoth Cave International Center for Science and Learning. In his spare time, however, you can still find him at the cave, seeking tunnels and chambers no one has ever seen before.

Toomey, who has a doctorate in geological sciences from the University of Texas, Austin, began his career as a cave paleontologist. Now he works to understand the impact human beings have on caves. His passion for exploration and discovery make him a natural for bringing scientists and children to the park to research everything from water flow patterns to microbial life forms.

Geologists believe the oldest part of Mammoth Cave began forming around 10 million years ago. Even though more than 390 miles of cave passages have been mapped, explorers to this day are discovering new passages. For cave enthusiasts like Toomey, the possibilities seem unlimited.

SEASON 17 PROGRAMS: 1701170217031704170517061707170817091710171117121713171417151716171717181719172017211722

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