Post Classifieds

PODCAST: Humans of Tennessee Tech with Dr. Graham and Bettye Kash

By Lauren Clark, Emily Paton, Peyton Raymer and Kitty Porterfield
On December 6, 2018

In this interview, Dr. Graham Kash, a Tennessee Tech University Professor, and his wife, Dr. Bettye Kash, a retired professor, share the story of their love through fond memories, folk music and seamless harmonies.

Transcript:

LAUREN CLARK: Today we will be interviewing Dr. Graham Kash and Dr. Bettye Kash. So, why don’t you tell us a little bit about how you all met?

DR. GRAHAM KASH: I was teaching here at Tennessee Tech and Bettye was a graduate student, though I was not teaching her. We were both doing old time music with different people. Then, we ended up combining with those people, and also getting together with each other. That was one of the influences. 

DR. BETTYE KASH: I was, we were, as he had mentioned, we were in Nashville at the same time. I went to Belmont University and got my undergraduate degree and he went to Vanderbilt, but we didn’t know each other there, and so when I came, I decided I’d come up here to get my master’s degree, and I got a graduate assistantship to teach speech and English. And so when I came, I was singing folk music with one of the professors because we knew a lot of the same songs, and the Tennessee Folklore Society started at Tennessee Tech and they were meeting here that year. So, at the folklore meeting, the professor and I were singing and he and the two undergraduate students who were singing together heard us and they asked if I would like to join them. And so as we say, the rest is history. That's how we got together.

LAUREN: So, how long have you taught at Tennessee Tech, Dr. Kash?

GRAHAM: Well, I have taught at Tennessee Tech for several decades, and I’m still having fun. 

LAUREN: So, I know that music is a big part of both of your lives. So, how would you say that music has played an important role in your relationship?

BETTYE: Well, we have continued to do folk music, and our daughters, we have two daughters, and when they were here, they also sang with us. And we were trying, when we were singing together, we were trying to pick out a name, and Mrs. Dorothy Pennebaker suggested why didn't we call ourselves the Caney Forkers since we were near the Caney Fork River, so that's what we decided to do and we still call ourselves that. And we go to several folk festivals each year and sing like at Murfreesboro and at Athens, Alabama, and some other ones that they have around at various places, and we have won. He plays harmonica, and I play autoharp, and we sing together and also solo and we have won several awards for our music.

LAUREN: So when did you both start playing music? Was it something that you grew up doing?

GRAHAM: Well, I grew up listening to a lot of music. Now as far as the doing of music is concerned, other than singing, I always did singing. As far as instrumentation is concerned, I took an interest in the harmonica, partly because of the influence of my grandmother. She was quite good at playing the harmonica. As my mother said, when my grandmother played the harmonica, she could make it talk. So that was part of the influence on me. I am not skilled at playing other instruments, but I do play the harmonica. Now Bettye plays other instruments that she might want to talk about. She grew up in a background of music, of doing music, more than I did. I grew up more in a background of appreciating music, but she grew up in a background of actually doing music. She can talk about that if she would like to.

BETTYE: My father and mother were half of the church quartet, and we went to a lot of singing conventions and mother took us, too, and so we would sing there. When I was 13 years old, the adult choir got new song books that had shape notes in it, and I knew how to read shape notes because my mother knew how to read them and she taught me. So when I was 13, I taught the adult choir how to read the shape notes in the music and we just kept on in music all my life, actually, and I learned to play autoharp when I was, I think it was eighth grade, I watched Pop Stoneman on television, and he had it on the table, and he played it on the table. That's the way I first started, and then I watched the Carter family, and Maybelle Carter had played guitar. So she picked up the autoharp and held it and played it like she would play a guitar, so I started doing that, but then when we had our daughters and they were small and I had to hold on to them and try to hold my autoharp, I couldn't do it. So the one of the students that was singing with us said, ‘Would you like to have me put a guitar strap on it?’ and I said sure. So they did, and I hadn't seen anybody do that before. And since that time, a lot of people have done it. I don't know if I influenced them or not, but I've seen others doing it. And now I can not hold it because it goes over my shoulder and I can hold it like that and then play it and do like this on it to play it.

LAUREN: And I know today you guys are going to play us a song. Do you want to introduce the song and then we'll let you guys play it for us?

GRAHAM: Well, this is one called ‘The Rooster Song.’ Well, it has many versions, you can punch a machine and find other verses to it. We have selected certain ones that we find the most suitable for us, and we have played it in various circumstances. People like to hear this. A few years ago, we won second place in old time singing at Athens, Alabama, in this festival of playing this song. So we'll do it for you in just a minute, and this is the rooster song. Key of D, please, D as in ‘dog,’ but this is ‘Rooster.’

BETTYE: I play the autoharp with banjo picks because I found that works well for me.

EMILY PATON: Awesome. You just do, just do whatever you, do whatever works for you, you know?

BETTYE: OK.

(AUTOHARP BEGINS TO PLAY)

GRAHAM (SINGING): I had an old hen, no eggs would she lay. I had an old hen, no eggs would she lay. My wife said…

GRAHAM AND BETTYE (SINGING): Honey, we’re losing money, ‘cause that old hen won’t lay any eggs. But then that rooster came into our yard, and caught that old hen right off of her guard. We’re getting eggs now, like we never used to, till that rooster came into our yard. 

GRAHAM (SINGING): I had a garden, no plants would it grow. I had a garden, no plants would it grow. My wife said…

GRAHAM AND BETTYE (SINGING): Honey, we’re losing money, ‘cause that garden won’t grow any plants. But then that rooster came into our yard, and caught that garden right off of her guard. We’re getting eggplant now, like we never used to, till that rooster came into our yard. 

GRAHAM (SINGING): I had an old cow, no milk would she give. I had an old cow, no milk would she give. My wife said… 

GRAHAM AND BETTYE (SINGING): Honey, we’re losing money, ‘cause that old cow won’t give any milk. But then that rooster came into our yard, and caught that old cow right off of her guard. We’re getting eggnog now, like we never used to, till that rooster came into our yard.

GRAHAM (SINGING): I had a gum tree, no gum would it give. I had a gum tree, no gum would it give. My wife said…

GRAHAM AND BETTYE (SINGING): Honey, we’re losing money, ‘cause that gum tree won’t give any gum. But then that rooster came into our yard, and caught that gum tree right off of her guard. We’re getting chicklets now, like we never used to, till that rooster came into our yard. 

GRAHAM (SINGING): I had an old dog, no pups would she have. I had an old dog, no pups would she have. My wife said…

GRAHAM AND BETTYE (SINGING): Honey, we’re losing money, ‘cause that old dog won’t have any pups. But then that rooster came into our yard, and caught that old dog right off of her guard. We’re getting bird dogs now, like we never used to, till that rooster came into our yard. 

GRAHAM (SINGING): I had a gas pump, no gas would it give. I had a gas pump, no gas would it give. My wife said…

GRAHAM AND BETTYE (SINGING): Honey, we’re losing money, ‘cause that gas pump won’t give any gas. But then that rooster came into our yard, and caught that gas pump right off of her guard. We’re getting Shell now, like we never used to, till that rooster came into our yard.

Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly

More tntechoracle News Articles

Recent tntechoracle News Articles

Discuss This Article

MOST POPULAR TNTECHORACLE

GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER

Tenessee Tech's pre-medicine program prepares undergraduate students for medical schools across the country, where TTU students become leading Chicago ophthalmologists, LASIK Nashville doctors and so many other top medical professionals.

TODAY'S PRINT EDITION

https://issuu.com/tntechoracle/docs/oracle03_19_2019

Log In

or Create an account

Employers & Housing Providers

Employers can list job opportunities for students

Post a Job

Housing Providers can list available housing

Post Housing

Log In

Forgot your password?

Your new password has been sent to your email!

Logout Successful!

Please Select Your College/University:

You just missed it! This listing has been filled.

Post your own housing listing on Uloop and have students reach out to you!

Upload An Image

Please select an image to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format
OR
Provide URL where image can be downloaded
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format