Coon Creek Girls - 2004 Inductees

In 1917, Lily May Ledford was born in the Red River Gorge area of Powell County, Kentucky. Growing up in a musical family, she was much influenced by her father, Daw White Ledford, who was an excellent musician. At a young age, Lily May began mastering the fiddle, banjo, guitar, and bass, while performing locally with her siblings. After winning a contest in 1935, Lily May caught the attention of John Lair, a talent manager for Chicago radio station, WLS. Lily May took a job as a staff musician for WLS and soon began learning from such entertainers as Red Foley and Patsy Montana. It was John Lair, however, who took Lily May under his wing, and signed her to a five year contract.

Lily May’s older sister, Rosie, soon joined her at the station. Lair shared with the girls his vision to start a barn dance, back home in Kentucky. One of its features would be an all girl band, with Lily May Ledford as a vital part. In 1937, Lair moved the entire broadcast to Ohio and the Renfro Valley Barn dance was born, as was the world’s first all girl string band, “The Coon Creek Girls” featuring Lily May Ledford, her sister Rosie, Esther Koehler, and Evelyn Lange. In keeping with the flower theme, Esther changed her name to “Violet,” and Evelyn became “Daisy.” Though the girls could each play a variety of instruments, Lair encouraged Lily May Ledford to play the banjo, where she utilized her unique tuning and claw-hammered style of playing. The Coon Creek Girls would also feature Rosie on guitar, Violet on mandolin, and Daisy on bass. The Coon Creek Girls were an instant success. Their energetic stage performance and fast paced repertoire won over audiences, and remained true to their Appalachian heritage. Lair kept the girls performing in Ohio, while he was completing construction on the Renfro Valley site in Kentucky. The Coon Creek Girls played many radio and live shows. In 1938, the Coon Creek Girls recorded for the Vocalion label in Chicago. They recorded songs like “Pretty Polly”and “Little Birdie.” The highlight of their career was in 1939 when they performed at the White House for President and First Lady, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and King George IV and Queen Elizabeth of England. Later that same year, just as the Renfro Valley facility in Kentucky was completed, Evelyn and Violet decided to leave the band, and were replaced by Lily May and Rosie’s younger sister, Minnie who became known as “Black Eyed Susan.” The Coon Creek Girls continued to play the Renfro Valley BarnDance for many years. Their intense, foot-stomping approach to ballads and religious songs continues to inspire and entertain audiences and musicians, alike. Their love for traditional Kentucky Mountain Music lives on in their music, and in our hearts.

Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum
  1. Dale Ann Bradley - 2018 Inductee
  2. Billy Ray Cyrus - 2018 Inductee
  3. Jason Crabb - 2018 Inductee
  4. Jackie DeShannon - 2018 Inductee
  5. David "Stringbean" Akeman - 2018 Inductee
  6. Bobby Lewis - 2018 Inductee
  7. Exile - 2011 Inductees
  8. The Kentucky Headhunters - 2013 Inductees
  9. Jerry Chestnut - 2004 Inductee
  10. John Lee Lair - 2002 Inductee
  11. Red Foley - 2002 Inductee
  12. Coon Creek Girls - 2004 Inductees
  13. Ulys R "Red" Turner - Renfro Valley Performer
  14. Old Joe Clark - 2013 Inductee
  15. Merle Travis - 2002 Inductee
  16. Loretta Lynn - 2002 Inductee
  17. JD Crowe - 2004 Inductee
  18. Bradley Kincaid - 2002 Inductee
  19. Jean Ritchie - 2002 Inductee
  20. Tom T Hall - 2002 Inductee
  21. Pete Stamper - 2015 Inductee
  22. Steve Wariner - 2011 Inductee
  23. Bradley Kincaid - 2002 Inductee
  24. Bill Monroe - 2002 Inductee
  25. Dwight Yoakam - 2008 Inductee
  26. John Conlee - 2006 Inductee
  27. Louis Marshall "Grandpa Jones" - 2002 Inductee
  28. Keith Whitley - 2011 Inductee
  29. Ricky Skaggs - 2004 Inductee
  30. Brian Littrell & Kevin Richardson of The Backstreet Boys - 2015 Inductees
  31. Patty Loveless - 2011 Inductee
  32. Montgomery Genrty - 2015 Inductees
  33. John Michael Montgomery - 2011 Inductee
  34. The Judds - 2006 Inductees
  35. The Everly Brothers - 2002 Inductees
  36. Boots Randolph - 2004 Inductee
  37. Sam Bush - 2006 Inductee
  38. The Goins Brothers
  39. Crystal Gayle - 2008 Inductee
  40. Dottie Rambo - 2006 Inductee
  41. Florence Henderson - 2008 Inductee
  42. Steven Curtis Chapman - 2013 Inductee
  43. Doc Hopkins - 2015 Inductee
  44. The Osborne Brothers - 2002 Inductees
  45. Howard and Vestal Goodman - 2004 Inductees
  46. The Coon Creek Girls - 2004 Inductees
  47. Billy Vaughn - 2004 Inductee
  48. Todd Duncan - 2006 Inductee
  49. Mary Travers - 2006 Inductee
  50. John Jacob Niles - 2006 Inductee
  51. Norro Wilson - 2008 Inductee
  52. Les McCann - 2008 Inductee
  53. Molly O'Day - 2011 Inductee