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Photo, Print, Drawing Homer Pettry giving a banjo lesson

About this Item


  • Homer Pettry giving a banjo lesson


  • Pettry, Homer (Depicted)
  • McMillion, David (Depicted)
  • Eiler, Lyntha Scott (Photographer)

Created / Published

  • October 30, 1995


  • -  Music
  • -  Fall
  • -  Community events
  • -  October
  • -  Frazier Gills' Barbershop
  • -  Photographs
  • -  Ethnography
  • -  West Virginia -- Raleigh County -- Coal City


  • Photographs
  • Ethnography


  • -  Throughout southern West Virginia one can find regular jam sessions, which occur in public spaces like the Sophia Fire Hall, the Coal City Barber Shop, and the Beckley Flea Market, as well as in private buildings sometime built for that purpose, and elsewhere as well. As one musician put it, "We've played on the riverbanks, we've played on the mountaintops." Musicians playing a variety of instruments assemble regularly to perform an eclectic repertoire, including as one musician said, "traditional country, bluegrass, rock'n'roll, and gospel." Frazer Gills, a celebrated fiddler in the coal fields, cuts hair in the barbershop he built beside his home in Coal City. On Tuesdays he swaps haircuts with Thurmond Walker, a barber in Beckley, who is also a fiddler. Each Tuesday night area musicians congregate at Frazier Gills' for barber shop jam sessions. This session took place in the narrow cinderblock barbershop that Frazier Gills built next to his home in Coal City. Lined with benches beneath walls spangled with decades of historical memorabilia, the shop's focal point is a single barber chair on a dais opposite the entrance.
  • -  Event: Tuesday night jam session at Frazier Gills' Barbershop.


  • 35 mm Color Slide

Call Number/Physical Location

  • AFC 1999/008: CRF-LE-C059-12

Source Collection

  • Coal River Folklife Collection (AFC 1999/008)


  • American Folklife Center

Digital Id

Online Format

  • image

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

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Copy photographs of numerous historical still photographs owned by Woody Boggs and Rick Bradford were made and are reproduced here with permission of the owners.

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Credit line

Coal River Folklife Project collection (AFC 1999/008), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Pettry, Homer, David McMillion, and Lyntha Scott Eiler. Homer Pettry giving a banjo lesson. West Virginia Raleigh County Coal City, 1995. Photograph.

APA citation style:

Pettry, H., McMillion, D. & Eiler, L. S. (1995) Homer Pettry giving a banjo lesson. West Virginia Raleigh County Coal City, 1995. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Pettry, Homer, David McMillion, and Lyntha Scott Eiler. Homer Pettry giving a banjo lesson. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.