The Hammons Family of Pocahontas County, West Virginia, are known around the world for their distinctive old-time music that reflects the early Appalachian frontier of West Virginia. Nine members of the Hammons clan, Edden, Pete, Maggie, Sherman, Burl, Lee, Currence, Mintie and Dona, will be inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.
They were musicians and singers performing songs about hard times and love lost. They were storytellers who talked about everyday life in riddles, poems and funny tales. And they shared their wisdom and humor with anyone willing to listen.
In a special report as part of the Inside Appalachia Folkways Project, Heather Niday found out more about the legacy of the Hammons Family and their music.
A New Generation
Trevor Hammons is the great-grandson of Lee Hammons. Trevor never met his great-grandfather or any of the other inductees. And while many musicians appreciate the contributions of the Hammons Family, for Trevor it’s far more personal. For him, it’s all about ensuring that legacy remains a family tradition.
Trevor is a quiet young man who doesn’t go out of his way to draw attention to himself. That is, until he picks up the banjo. At festivals and competitions, his style of banjo picking draws crowds and wins awards. The Vandalia Gathering is an annual festival held in Charleston, West Virginia, devoted to old-time and bluegrass music. At the Vandalia Gathering the past few years, he’s been one of the top five musicians in the old-time banjo category, an honor usually awarded to older musicians.