Event Details

Appalachia in the Bluegrass Traditional Music Concert Series at the Gallery of the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music at the Lucille C. Little Fine Arts Library, University of Kentucky in Lexington

A master of the drop-thumb and two-finger banjo style, Lee “Boy” Sexton has lived his whole life near his birthplace in Letcher County, KY. Born in 1927, he acquired his first banjo, a homemade wooden fretless model with a groundhog skin head, for a dollar when he was eight years old (he worked to clear a field for a week to earn that dollar), and with instruction from his father and uncles (one of whom was banjo player Morgan Sexton, winner of the National Heritage Award).

Lee Boy Sexton And His Son Johnny Sexton

Lee Sexton And His Son Johnny Sexton

Sexton soon mastered the instrument, and the fiddle, as well. As a young man he would work all week in the mines and then play music all weekend at house parties, bean stringings, and corn shuckings. June Appal issued an LP of traditional material, Whoa Mule, in 1988, and an expanded CD version in 2004 with an additional 40 minutes of music. One of the most respected and revered folk musicians in East Kentucky, Sexton garnered a brief scene in the 1980 film Coal Miner’s Daughter, where he appears playing at a square dance.

In 1999 he was presented with the Kentucky Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts.


Appalachia in the Bluegrass Concert Series


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