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Appalachian Experience: There’s a Better Home: A Brief History of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” (online)

July 12 @ 6:30 pm - 7:45 pm

Its refrain is inscribed on the Country Music Hall of Fame’s rotunda, it is the title of the 1972 landmark album by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and it has been recorded by a vast array of artists, including Gregg Allman, the Staple Singers, George Jones, Willie Nelson, and Roy Acuff. Since the Carter Family’s 1935 recording of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” (under the title “Can the Circle…”), the song has enjoyed immense popularity as an (if not the) anthem of country music. But where did the song originate? In this talk, we will look beyond the conventional wisdom that it was a product of AP Carter’s editing of an early 20th century hymn, and explore the song’s journey through white and black song traditions.

All registrants will receive a zoom link to the event.



About the Presenter: Leila Weinstein is the program coordinator of the Appalachian Studies Program and the Ramsey Center for Appalachian Studies at Mars Hill University, where she also directs the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Festival. She has a master’s degree in Appalachian Studies with a concentration in culture and music.


July 12
6:30 pm - 7:45 pm


Swannanoa Valley Museum & History Center