Marianna Roberts’s grandmother, Myrtle Porter Vermillion, was a cousin of both Sara and Maybelle Carter. They all grew up in the mountains around Hiltons and would often play music together. After Myrtle got married, she played autoharp with a group called the Dykes Magic City Trio. In 1927, the same year that the Carter Family recorded their famous Bristol Sessions, Dykes Magic City Trio traveled to New York to record some songs of their own. Growing up in a musical family, Marianna came to performing early. Today she plays bass and sings in her own group, the Appalachian Dream Spinners. But Marianna doesn’t just appreciate her musical heritage; she values her culinary heritage, as well. Marianna still makes her grandmother’s tomato gravy, soup beans, and hoecakes. And she’s still connected to the Carter Family, visiting the Fold at every opportunity to help celebrate the music of the Mountain South.
Date of interview:
February 21, 2009