From the publisher: The Last Chivaree creates a vivid and unsparing portrait of Appalachian mountain life in the first half of the twentieth century, before power lines and paved roads opened the way to widespread change. Robert Isbell’s profile of the remarkable Hicks family of Beech Mountain, North Carolina, pays tribute to the longstanding mountain traditions of music making and storytelling. It is based largely on the reminiscences of Ray Hicks, a master teller of Jack Tales and a central figure in the current revival of traditional storytelling. Among the Hickses, family history is part of the taletelling tradition. We learn of Hicks ancestors who arrived in the southern mountains in the late eighteenth century; of Ray’s parents, Rena and Nathan, who struggled to raise ten children; and of the whole extended Hicks circle and their attempts to scratch out a living in an unforgiving environment. The book itself reads like a well-told tale, but all the characters are real, although the names of a few, now dead, have been changed in deference to survivors. Based on hundreds of hours of listening and many years of friendship, The Last Chivaree captures the wisdom, humor, and dignity of the family it chronicles.


The Last Chivaree: The Hicks Family of Beech Mountain

By Robert Isbell