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Creelsboro and the Cumberland: A Living History is a one-hour, public television documentary presenting the history and culture of a farming community along the Cumberland River in Russell County, Kentucky. The production team has posted a host of educational materials on this website designed for viewers, teachers and students. The materials are provided for non-commercial research and educational purposes.

Lesson Plans

The project’s education team is in the process of developing lesson plans to enhance use of the documentary and the original artworks in classrooms. We’ll post them when they are ready.

Original Artworks

Creelsboro and the Cumberland: A Living History features two original artworks created for the project by artist Dennis Thrasher. The oil paintings illustrate key moments in the history of the Creelsboro valley located along the Cumberland River in Russell County, Kentucky. This website contains the two artworks, and a special “behind-the-scenes” video (21:00 minutes) where Dennis Thrasher describes his training and creative style, and his advice for aspiring artists.

Creelsboro Landing, 1890s depicts the Golden Age of steamboats on the Upper Cumberland River. The artwork shows the steamboat Rueben Dunbar loading passengers and cargo at the Creelsboro landing during a “high” tide in the spring. The artwork also illustrates Campbell’s ferry, a log raft and numerous other facets of life during the 1890s. Creelsboro Landing artwork for EDU: pdf


Irvin Store, 1920s illustrates community life at a remarkable general store during the peak of the valley’s population. The painting depicts a Saturday afternoon in the fall when Irvin Store attracted customers from over 50 miles, with everything from dry goods and clothing to farm equipment and caskets. Irvin Store artwork for EDU: pdf


The Art of Dennis Thrasher – “Behind-the-Scenes” Video


Dennis Thrasher describes his professional background, creative process and advice for young artists on this 21-minute, “behind-the-scenes” video designed for viewers of all interests and ages, but especially art and history teachers and students.

Artwork resources:

  • Dennis Thrasher website for more information, prints and his catalogue: (website to come)
  • David Wright provided images of seven paintings to the project.
  • The online Digital Collections of the Library of Congress has numerous historical images used in the documentary.

Original Music

Creelsboro and the Cumberland: A Living History features old-time music created for the documentary soundtrack by musician Eli Bedel. Working with the production team, Mr. Bedel researched traditional, old-time songs from the Appalachian region for use in historical sections of the documentary. He arranged and played fourteen old-time songs, as well as a series of short “mood” instrumentals for transitions in the documentary. This website contains audio clips of selected songs, Song Profiles (descriptions), a profile of Eli Bedel, and a special “behind-the-scenes” video (6:30 minutes) about Bedel’s music, which was produced by students at Fourthwall Youth Studios. These materials are provided for non-commercial research and educational purposes.

Eli Bedel profile: pdf – A profile of musician Eli Bedel.

Song Profiles: pdf – Profiles of the 14 Creelsboro soundtrack songs written by Eli Bedel.

The Songs

Click on titles to hear six selected songs recorded by Eli Bedel for the documentary. The audio files are compressed to AAC audio files for the web. The audio files are provided for non-commercial research and educational purposes. Music Credits: © 2019, Voyageur Media Group, Inc./Kentucky Archaeological Survey/Eli Bedel. All songs are arranged and played by Eli Bedel. Randy Campbell, studio engineer.

Eli Bedel: Soundtrack Musician (6:30 minutes)


Eli Bedel: Soundtrack Musician is a “behind-the-scenes” video (6:30 minutes) produced by a team of high-school students at Fourthwall Youth Studios. The video is designed to help younger generations connect with old-time music. It features comments from Eli Bedel who was interviewed while recording the soundtrack for the documentary Creelsboro and the Cumberland: A Living History. Fourthwall Youth Studios is a filmmaking and digital media program for youth in junior high and high school. Tom Law, Project Director, Voyageur Media Group, Inc., says, “Most Fourthwall students have never worked in video production before this project. The students not only learned about the basics of script writing and editing, but also how to work together as a production team.” Eli Bedel: Soundtrack Musician was written and edited by Ashley Wilson, Romel Suggs and Ella Dastillung. Archival sources: Library of Congress, Lomax Collection; Berea College, Hutchins Library, Special Collections & Archives; Voyageur Media Group, Inc.

Music resources: