Close this window to return to previous page
Jane Hicks Gentry
A Singer Among Singers
Betty Smith
Awarded the Willie Parker Peace History Book Award
by the North Carolina Society of Historians

© The University Press of Kentucky 1998

~ All books ordered from this website are signed by the author ~

"JANE HICKS GENTRY is a wonderful portrait of a ballad singer, written with great warmth and understanding by Betty Smith, who is herself a gifted musician, This book, beautifully researched and written, with grace notes of jacktales and accounts of North Carolina mountain life, records a precious part of America's music history and celebrates Appalachia's contribution to the arts. It is a wonderful addition to the scholarship of Appalachia, and could only have been written by a musician and scholar. Betty Smith is both."
- Sharyn McCrumb, Author of The Rosewood Casket

"Betty Smith, herself a performer of traditional music, has given us a bountiful, beautifully realized biography of this unique woman... It is an important and moving story."
- Wilma Dykeman, Knoxville News-Sentinel. Author of The Tall Woman

"Betty Smith has pulled together the flesh-and-blood story of the legendary singer and tale-teller Jane Gentry, who contributed more songs to the English collector Cecil Sharp than any other person and also gave us wonderful versions of Old World folk tales. The author shows how Gentry was connected to the great singing and tale-telling families of Appalachia ... how the folk arts enlivened and delighted pioneer people in lives of toil... Jane Gentry was one of the great bearers of traditional arts, and lovers of these arts will want to read her story."
- Loyal Jones, author of Appalachian Values

".... I used your Singer Among Singers last semester for all my students in Appalachian Literature. The book was most helpful - for the history and liveliness of Jane and for the careful inclusion of her repertory materials."
- Cecelia Conway, Appalachian State University

"I had often wondered why Mrs. Gentry's repertoire was so different from the other Madison County singers. And, for that matter, why her Jack tales were similar to those collected in the vicinity of Beech Mountain, Watauga County, North Carolina, to the north of Hot Springs. Now we have the answer. Cecil Sharp always referred to Mrs. Gentry as Jane Gentry. Betty Smith calls her Jane Hicks Gentry and tells us that Mrs. Gentry was born Jane Hicks in Watauga County. She was a direct descendant of Council Harmon, a singer and storyteller who influenced many generations of Beech Mountain residents."
- Michael Yates. Folk Music Journal (England)

"This book is a warm, graceful, and thorough exploration of one woman's day-to-day and artistic worlds. It should attract readers interested in Appalachian culture, the biography of non-famous persons, American folk song, and women's studies."
- MLA Notes

"Jane Hicks Gentry: A Singer Among Singers paints a complex portrait of a woman who lived in a quiet area, but who touched others with her gifts of song and storytelling."
- Cheminne Taylor-Smith, Our State (North Carolina)

"A lively collection and biographical sketch, this is a lucid account including original materials related in an admiring, easy and anecdotal style. It is an excellent introduction to a neglected singer and storyteller of the southern mountains."
- Come-All-Ye

"Jane Hicks Gentry: A Singer Among Singers recounts the remarkable life of a woman who, while running a boarding house and raising nine children, found time to cook, garden, weave, and most importantly, share the music and Jack tales passed down from her relatives. Smith's book shares the legacy of one remarkable NC woman whose music has touched the lives of many."
- The Quill, North Carolina Society of Historians

"This link is a letter written by Jeannette Armstrong, who helped me so much with the book" - Betty

Close this window to return to previous page
Bluff Mountain Music
1444 Bluff Mountain Rd. * Hot Springs, NC 28743
Betty Smith Ballads Homepage
> 2000 ~ es I & D <'}}}><