excerpt from Ted Olson (http://encyclopediaofappalachia.com):
Due to its broad scope of inﬂuence both within and outside the region, Appalachian music has been a powerful perpetrator of regional stereotypes. Although originating outside Appalachia, nineteenth-century minstrel show performances featuring white musicians derisively exaggerating black culture adversely affected the social standing of African Americans in the region after emancipation.
In the twentieth century, the barn dance—which achieved national popularity via radio and which sustained that popularity into the 1990s through such television programs as Hee Haw—provided steady work and signiﬁcant exposure for many Appalachian musicians. But in order to represent rural culture, which held novelty appeal for main- stream audiences, producers directed Appalachian musicians to project a hillbilly identity.
The stereotype inevitably left far-ﬂung audiences with negative and inaccurate impressions of Appalachian people. These barn dances particularly misrepresented two aspects of the region’s culture: Appalachian speech and Appalachian clothes. Musicians were encouraged to exaggerate their regional speech and to wear standardized hillbilly dress, including bib overalls and straw hats.
Likewise distorting general understanding of Appalachian regional culture during the twentieth century were attitudes toward Appalachian people of some of the musicians associated with the century’s several folk revivals, whose representations of Appalachian culture, whether earnest or intentionally exploitive, were rendered un- trustworthy by both positive and negative stereotyping.
Positive stereotypes included the revivalists’ romanticized portrayals of Appalachian musicians as mountain sages or noble savages; negative stereotyping involved the unfavorable characterization of Appalachian people as “rubes,” “hicks,” or “degenerates.”