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Genres You Will Love
Spoken Word: Audiobook Folk: Traditional Folk Moods: Solo Female Artist Folk: Appalachian Folk Spoken Word: Storytelling

By Location
United States - North Carolina

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Sheila Kay Adams

Sheila Kay Adams' love affair with ancient Scottish, English, and Irish ballads was fostered by what Cecil Sharp - perhaps the definitive musicologist of the modern era - called "a nest of singing birds" in his extensive collection of mountain ballads. Sheila Kay learned knee-to-knee from such singing greats as Dellie Chandler Norton, Cas Wallin, Inez "double-barrel" Chandler and numerous others. Adams carries a Singing and Oral Tradition that has remained more pure to date in the mountain seclusion of Southern Appalachia than in the British Isles themselves. She is the Seventh Generation to continue the tradition kept alive by her family and loved ones.
Adams was a public schoolteacher in Madison County, NC for almost two decades prior to pursuing her creative passion full-time. She has since made an international career as a musician, from clawhammer banjo, to guitar, and even songwriting - as a world-renowned ballad singer, a published author, storyteller, promoter, actress and comedienne. She served as a consultant and credited extra with Michael Mann in "Last of the Mohicans" and as both a singing/dialect coach and an advisor on cultural continuity in Maggie Greenwald's well-received independent film, "Songcatcher" with Aidan Quinn and Janet McTier. Her music can also be found in Stephen Spielberg's 2012 masterpiece, "Lincoln," performed alongside her late husband Jim Taylor.
Adams has an extensive musical discography, chronicling her life as a devoted student and teacher of these ancient traditions. Her first print publication, Come Go Home With Me (UNC Press, 1995) was praised as "Pure mountain magic" by Life Magazine, and her novel, My Old True Love (Algonquin, 2004) was a finalist for the Southeastern Independent Booksellers Association's Book of the Year. My Old True Love was named a Ballantine Books Reader's Circle choice and an official Target selection. Various colleges, universities, libraries and independent groups across the nation still use Adams' novel as a definitive example of Appalachian historical fiction, far surpassing local color to become an honest glimpse of the way it truly was for man, woman, and child alike.
Sheila Kay Adams has made it her life's work to ensure the survival of these ancient cultures and traditions, working tirelessly to see this Tradition thrive in current and future generations alike, for as her Granny Dell once said: "She may not always know where she's going, but she sure knows where she comes from." - a culture of strength, perseverance, inclusion, and an enchantment with life rarely found elsewhere.