Clyde Davenport

Old-time musician, Jamestown

National Heritage Fellowship (1992)
Tennessee Folklife Heritage Award  (2007)

Photo by Robert Cogswell


Clyde Davenport (1921-   ) has lived his entire life on the Cumberland Plateau--on both sides of the Tennessee-Kentucky border—and his music reflects mastery of the instrumental traditions of this unique Appalachian area.  Raised by a fiddler and exposed as a boy to deeply historical local tunes, Davenport also heard firsthand the region’s most famous old-time duo, Burnett & Rutherford.  He’s preserved a huge repertory from the area’s intersecting musical streams.  At one point, Clyde played mostly banjo in public, but in his subsequent career he’s become known for his fiddle mastery, in both archaic solo pieces and the smooth style and tune corpus of Leonard Rutherford.  Although he has now traveled widely to perform for knowledgeable heritage music audiences, Davenport mostly performs in private, sharing tunes in his home with students and visitors who often seek him out from great distances.


For Clyde Davenport’s National Heritage Fellowship profile, go to:

To see Clyde Davenport’s profile in the 2007 Governor’s Awards in the Arts program, click here.

For more about Clyde Davenport, go to:

Youtube addr for 2007 Gov Awd video profile (search “Davenport”)

For further reading, see:

Cogswell, Robert, Tradition: Tennessee Lives & Legacies (Nashville: Tennessee Arts Commission, 2010), pp. 42-47.
Fulcher, Bobby.  The Cumberland Music Tour.  (Nashville: Southern Arts Federation and Tennessee Arts Commission, 1988), pp. 15-16.  Click here [link= ]to download.
Govenar, Alan, Masters of Traditional Arts: A Biographical Dictionary (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2001), pp. 152-54, 710.
Titon, Jeff Todd.  Old-Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes.  (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2001), pp. 3-5, 204 (includes CD).


Shades of Clyde, Cedar Glades Productions007.  (DVD reissue, 2009).  Available from
Clyde Davenport, Vol. 1, Field Recorders’ Collective, FRC 103 (CD, 2005)
Clyde Davenport, Vol. 2, Field Recorders’ Collective, FRC 104 (CD, 2005)
W.L. Gregory and Clyde Davenport, Monticello: Tough Mountain Music, Spring Fed Records SFR DU-33014 (CD reissue)
W.L. Gregory and Clyde Davenport, Homemade Stuff, Spring Fed Records SFR DU-33028 (CD reissue)
Masters of Traditional Arts, Documentary Arts (CD-Rom, 2002)
Puncheon Camps, Berea College Appalachian Center AC 002 (Cassette, 1992)
Traditional Music of the Cumberland Plateau, Vol. 1: Gettin’ Up the Stairs, County 786 (LP)
Clydeoscope, County 788 (LP, 1986)