Maggie Longmire

Musician Maggie Longmire draws listeners into the hard lives of coal miners and their families, and a hoped-for future Photo by Shelly O'Barr
photograph of musician maggie longmire

Maggie Longmire’s ballads of Tennessee coal country will strike a chord in your heart.

Americana singer-songwriter Maggie Longmire was the fifth artist to be featured at the UT Libraries’ unique series Boundless: Artists in the Archives. Longmire has been a long-standing voice on the Knoxville music scene, performing with the Lonesome Coyotes and Free Soil Farm, and recording, to date, three CDs of original songs.

The Boundless program invites musicians and other artists to visit the Libraries’ archives and create original works inspired by what they discover there. In the archives, Longmire explored resources that chronicle life in East Tennessee coal-mining communities at the turn of the 20th century. Her performance at the John C. Hodges Library on March 23, 2023, included two songs inspired by her research: One evokes the hard lives of coal miners and their families. Another speaks of dreams realized for a young immigrant couple coming to Tennessee.

Longmire is herself the descendant of a Campbell County coal-mining family, and her family —especially her maternal great-grandmother, a miner’s wife — was another source of inspiration for her songs.