Hattie Hicks Presnell
1907 – 1996
The daughter of Roby and Buna Hicks, Hattie Hicks Presnell was known for her repertoire of traditional ballads that were preserved for generations in Southern Appalachia. These old included favorites such as “The Grey Cock” (Child 248), “Jealous Brothers” (or “Bramble Briar,” Roud 18), and William Hall (or “The Brisk Young Farmer,” Roud 400).
In the liner notes of The Traditional Music of Beech Mountain, North Carolina, Volume 1 (1964), Sandy Paton notes that Hattie was regarded for her “fine” (light, soft) singing voice. Paton goes on to say that he regarded Hattie’s music as an outstanding example of old-time singing, possessing the grace notes and other decorative techniques found in many traditional performances.
Listen to Hattie Hicks Presnell in the Jack Guy Collection: