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A Resurgence of Tradition

Directed by Rachel M. Ward, 14 min., 2014



A Resurgence

of Tradition


Director: Rachel Ward

Assoc. Producers: Sarah Whitelocke & Chris Mason

Editors: Sarah Whitelocke & Rachel Ward

Asst. Editor: Elnora Balser

Sound Editor: Chris Mason

Videographers: Rachel Ward, Sarah Whitelocke & Chris Mason

Sound Recordists: Alex Ward, Caolinn Sinead & Chris Mason

Graphics: Max Ward


appalachian punks. a resurgence of tradition.


This film looks at the role of traditional Appalachian music in an emerging cultural movement founded in the 'punk lifestyle' (e.g., busking, protest, homelessness, dumpster diving and train hopping). It explores four interrelated (yet generationally distinct) stories: Lester McCumbers (one of the most well-known traditional Appalachian fiddle players), Charlie Burton (a flat-foot dancer), the Conemaugh Trio (a band and anarchist collective) and Son of Bitch (representing banjo, fiddle and punk ethics). It looks at the way traditional Appalachian music is reflects or represents an emerging movement in America as a rejection of capitalism and corporate infrastructure (consider "train kids," "hipsters," "gutter punks" and other subcultural classifications). The adoption and adaptation of Appalachian mountain music by young people in many ways represents a desire for a return to the 'traditional' in a society that is increasingly delimiting economic and social opportunities for this generation.

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