Born in Alpine,
Tennessee, he started building instruments at an early age. When he was 18, Ledford was given a scholarship to attend the John C. Campbell Folk Schoolin Brasstown, North Carolina. He later attended Berea College, where he met his wife Colista. Ledford eventually transferred and graduated from what is now the Eastern Kentucky Universityin 1954. Ledford worked as a high school industrial artsteacher at George Rogers Clark High School in Winchester, Kentuckybefore becoming a full-time instrument maker.
Musicians from all over the world have sought after his dulcimers,
banjos, mandolins, guitars and ukeleles. Some of his works are on display in the Smithsonian Institution.
According to his website ( [http://www.cindylowy.com/About%20Homer%20C.%20Ledford.htm] ), he made over 5,776 dulcimers and over 475 banjos in his lifetime. He is also the inventor of the
dulcitar, and also made dulcijos and dulcibros.
He was also an original inductee in the
Kentucky Stars, alongside Loretta Lynn, Rosemary Clooney, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Patricia Neal. A sidewalk plaque honoring him is in front of the Kentucky Theatreon Main Street in Lexington, Kentucky.
He devoted his career to instrument-making and to playing with the
Cabin Creek Band. He also published a book of autobiographical stories and poems, entitled "See Ya Further Up the Creek".
Ledford died from a
strokeat the age of 79 in Winchester, Kentucky. He was survived by his widow, Colista; they had four children.
He was posthumously given an honorary Doctorate of Humanities at the Fall 2006 commencement ceremonies at
Eastern Kentucky University, December 16, 2006, and deemed one of Kentucky's "Hereoes, Saints and Legends by Wesley Retirement Community in recognition of his contributions to music.
* Alvey, R. Gerald, "Dulcimer Maker, The Craft of Homer Ledford", University Press of Kentucky, 1984
* [http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=97170&messages=5 "The Mudcat Café" Obituary]
* [http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/news/local/16253978.htm?source=rss&channel=kentucky_local "Lexington Herald-Leader" - Obituary & Photo]
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