Final Notes, Homer Ledford

Musician and instrument maker Homer Ledford, 79, of Winchester, Kentucky, died on December 12, 2006 after a brief illness. Ledford had played regularly over the last 30 years with his group, Homer Ledford and the Cabin Creek Band. Born in the Tennessee mountains, he began making musical instruments at an early age and at 18, he was given a scholarship to attend John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina. He graduated from what is now Eastern Kentucky University in 1954 and began work as a high school industrial arts teacher in Jefferson and Clark counties. Eventually becoming a full-time instrument maker, Ledford completed some 5,776 dulcimers, 475 banjos, 26 mandolins, 26 guitars, 18 ukuleles, and 4 fiddles. Samples of his craft are in the Smithsonian Institution: a fretless banjo, an Appalachian dulcimer, and a dulcitar—an instrument of his own invention, which he patented. Ledford was honored in Winchester in 1986 when the Homer Ledford Bluegrass Festival was named after him, and he was also one of the original inductees in the Kentucky Stars. A sidewalk plaque honoring him is in front of the Downtown Arts Center on Main Street in Lexington.

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