Lydia Hamessley (HAM' ess lee) is the Eugene M. Tobin Distinguished Professor of Music at Hamilton College where she teaches courses in country music, music and film, Medieval and Renaissance music, and world music.

Her research focuses on old-time and bluegrass music, with an emphasis on women and Southern Appalachia. She has published articles on the banjo in 19th-century America; Appalachian murder ballads; and Peggy Seeger. She appeared in the BBC2 documentary, Dolly Parton: Here I Am, 2019, which aired in the U.S. as Biography: Dolly on A&E, 2020. The documentary is currently available on Netflix.

Her book, Unlikely Angel: The Songs of Dolly Parton, was published in 2020 by the University of Illinois Press. In 2022, it received a Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Book Award in pop music for books published in 2020.

She received the Class of 1962 Outstanding Teaching Award in 2007 and The Samuel & Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2013.

Hamessley has a B.M.Ed. from Texas Lutheran University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Minnesota. She was the coordinator of the first Feminist Theory and Music conference held in Minneapolis in 1991. She is currently the Secretary of the American Musicological Society.

She is a clawhammer banjo player, enjoys cycling tours in the UK, and is a quilter.

Author Promo Video for Unlikely Angel: The Songs of Dolly Parton
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