Cousin Emmy
provided by Jennifer Morrison
Cousin Emmy might have been born in a log cabin, but she was often known as "the first hillbilly to own a Cadillac." She began recording for in the late '40s. The New Lost City Ramblers, wound up backing up Cousin Emmy on a Folkways record, but she leaves them in the dust. She was born Cynthia May Carver and from the age of seven, she enjoyed being the star entertainer among the children.

She saved up her money and traveled the difficult distance of 135 miles to the big town of Louisville, where radio station WHAS beckoned. Nobody at the station would listen to her, however, so she went back home and continued singing at events such as bean hullings, quilting parties, and pie suppers. Finally, someone at WHAS gave in and she wound up with her own spot. She still had to make a living doing personal appearances and would typically have to drive 500 miles within a single day to fulfill both the stage and radio commitments. Her radio shows began to pick up sponsors and the country girl was moving on to even bigger towns such as Chicago and St. Louis, where she performed on KMOX. During this time, she was chosen by the City Art Museum of St. Louis as the most-perfect singer of mountain ballads.

She only recorded one single, "Come All You Virginia Gals," and one album for Decca. This recording and her performances with Cousin Emmy & Her Kinfolk, both on-stage and on radio, created an incredibly enthusiastic fan base. Among the classic country players who credit Cousin Emmy with inspiring them to play is Grandpa Jones, who worked with her on WWVA when he was too young to be a grandpa and had no banjo on his knee. The bluegrass pioneers the Osborne Brothers heard her version of "Ruby Are You Mad" on a jukebox and decided to run with it, turning it into their band's signature song. Her original version was finally put back in print via both a CMH anthology, Fair Tender Ladies, and a set of classic Decca recordings released by MCA.