Frank Newsome

The singing of the Old Regular Baptists is one of the oldest and deepest veins of American spiritual singing traditions. This hymnody, with its elaborate, lined-out, unaccompanied singing is prevalent throughout the coalfield region of central Appalachia, but is barely known outside this region.

  • Old Regular Baptist Singing
  • Haysi, Virginia

The singing of the Old Regular Baptists is one of the oldest and deepest veins of American spiritual singing traditions. This hymnody, with its elaborate, lined-out, unaccompanied singing is prevalent throughout the coalfield region of central Appalachia, but is barely known outside this region. It cannot be heard on television or radio, and is largely unavailable on recordings. Elder Frank Newsome, of Little David Old Regular Baptist Church outside of Haysi, Virginia, is one of the great masters of this singing style, which he uses to inspire his small but spirited congregation every Sunday. Frequent Little David attendee Dr. Ralph Stanley has been so enamored with Newsome’s singing that he regularly invites him to sing at his annual music festival. Frank’s singing has touched the hearts of many, and in 2009 he was honored with the first ever Virginia State Heritage Award.

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