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Earlier in the year I invited people living and working in Appalachia to contribute to our blog. Part of the invite asked for stories about people’s lives that were changed through help from Fahe’s membership the other part asked for news showcasing culture, art, and all the things that make life wonderful. Several people answered my call and today I’m proud to share a guest post from Fahe’s own Tina Parker.


Here lately I’ve had a hankering to visit Tennessee.

There’s a show called Tennessee Shines that’s caught my eye. It features music and spoken word artists and airs live on WDVX from the Knoxville Visitor Center. Co-hosts Bob Deck and Paige Travis set an eclectic, vibrant stage to showcase regional artists.

This past Monday, the show featured Bristol-born poet Susan O’Dell Underwood and Malcolm Holcombe, a musician from western North Carolina.


Susan O’Dell Underwood


It’s not a far stretch for me to get to Tennessee, but on a cold night the virtual realm wins. I just wave the technology magic wand, and…Voila! I can stream the show and hear it from my Kentucky home.

And what a treat to hear this blues musician’s sets sprinkled with the words of Susan O’Dell Underwood. As she read, the show’s co-host, Bob Deck, played chords to echo the mood of the poem. When Underwood read the poem, “The Old House,” and evoked the image of children exploring an abandoned family home, he played a haunting tune:

. . .bare bones set in schoolhouse darkness,

to teach us our own history,

left standing to rot in all that tangled green,

among the daises and Queen Anne’s Lace

and high red clover.


Our region fosters so many talented musicians and writers. A venue to feature this rich heritage—and share it with a wide audience—is always welcome.

Bio: Tina Parker was born in Tennessee, just barely. The Bristol hospital is on that side of town; she grew up on the Virginia side. She now lives and writes in Berea, Kentucky.

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