Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)


Appalachian Studies

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Dr. Thomas Alan Holmes

Committee Members

Dr. Charles Strong Olson, Dr. Nathaniel Jay Olson


In this thesis, I demonstrate how analysis through literary criticism can provide a commentary on Appalachian song. While literary analysis of both sacred and secular song lyrics is an approach that is largely overlooked in this region’s traditional music, it nonetheless provides insightful perspective on the art form itself. As I argue, one particular duo of Appalachian musicians, the Louvin Brothers, are uniquely suited to this inquiry. I propose that themes that are found in many of the Louvin Brothers’ songs, such as love, acceptance, and rejection, create a bridge between the historically documented theoretical gap between bluegrass and country music’s sacred and secular songs. I document how the Louvins successfully navigated these traditionally separate subgenres using these common subjects while offering a commentary on musical history, their own upbringing, and religion.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.