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Kanawha Records

Kanawha Records, an outgrowth of Folk Promotions, was probably the first independent company to record authentic indigenous mountain music as performed by contemporary West Virginia musicians. The company, active from about 1963 through 1970, was created by Ken Davidson, who found, recorded, and promoted players of old-time music. He revived the career of fiddler Clark Kessinger, a popular national recording artist in the late 1920s and early ’30s. With the issue of three albums by Kessinger, a new audience of folk enthusiasts was introduced to his music. Davidson recorded fiddlers W. Franklin George and French Carpenter, banjoist Jenes Cottrell, and issued an album of the revivalist Hollow Rock String Band playing never-before recorded tunes of fiddler Henry Reed. Several of Davidson’s most important early recordings were acquired by County Records of Floyd, Virginia.

Written by Rebecca Halstead Kimmons